Scouting Report: Wolves at Raptors | Oct. 9, 2013

Scouting Report: Wolves at Raptors | Oct. 9, 2013


Timberwolves at Raptors | 6 PM CT — Air Canada Centre

Where to Watch: No local TV, NBATV Canada

Where to Listen: No radio

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Monday’s preseason opener against CSKA Moscow looked exactly that—a preseason opener. The Wolves had their moments, but overall the team had trouble fully executing their offensive sets and keeping the motion going throughout the 24-second shot clock. 

That’s to be expected for a starting lineup just getting to know one another—Kevin Love missed all but 18 games last season, and Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer are new additions. They’ll have a chance to take the next steps in their progression tonight in Toronto when they face the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT. Tonight’s game is not televised locally or on local radio.

The Wolves are looking at it just like that. This preseason will be comprised of building blocks. After that 108-106 overtime loss on Monday, tonight is the next step.

“It’s our first time playing together,” Love said. “I believe, you know, we wanted to take a lot of time, we wanted to make one pass and shoot the ball.”

The bright spot from Monday night was certainly the bench. Coach Rick Adelman went with a lineup of A.J. Price, Othyus Jeffers, Alexey Shved, Derrick Williams and Ronny Turiaf down the stretch in the fourth quarter and in overtime. That group picked up enough defensive stops and put together enough of an offensive run to come back and take four separate leads late in the fourth after trailing since midway through the first.

Expect to see that second unit to again see extended minutes tonight in Toronto, as the Wolves continue evaluating their roster and see which rotations fit best. They’re also evaluating which player will end up with that last available spot on the roster.

Minnesota will also play back-to-back games tonight and tomorrow—the Wolves fly straight to Sioux Falls for a matchup with Milwaukee on Thursday night—so minutes will be spread around accordingly over those two games to keep legs fresh this preseason.

Last Meeting

The Wolves dropped a 95-93 matchup with the Raptors on April 5, 2013, as Toronto denied Adelman his 1,000th career NBA coaching win. Adelman would get that victory the next night against Detroit, becoming the eighth coach in league history to reach the milestone. But Toronto denied the Wolves that distinction on April 5 thanks in large part to big games from Rudy Gay (26 points) and DeMar DeRoazan (25 points). The Wolves held an 11-point lead in the third, but Gay and DeRozan were too much down the stretch. Gay and DeRozan scored 17 of the Raptors’ 24 points in the final frame. Nikola Pekovic scored 24 points and Andrei Kirilenko added 20 in the loss.

This Week’s Results

The Raptors (1-0) are coming off a 97-89 win on the road against the Boston Celtics. Gay and Tyler Hansbrough led the team with 17 points each, while DeRozan had 13 and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 and Terrence Ross had 12. For Boston, Gerald Wallace had 16 off the bench, Jared Sullinger had 14 and Kris Humphries had 11.

Key Stat

The Wolves are 1-16 against the Raptors in the regular season since 2004-05. That includes eight straight losses on the road. Their lone win in that stretch was a 103-87 victory on Jan. 29, 2011 at Target Center.

What To Watch: Lowry vs. Rubio

It’s hard to predict minutes or how much any starter will play during the preseason, but this back court matchup includes two point guards who are very familiar with Rick Adelman. Rubio has played for the coach over the past three seasons in Minnesota, and Lowry was on Adelman’s Houston teams from 2009-11. During his final season with Adelman, he started 71 games. Lowry averaged 11.6 points and 6.4 assists per game last year in Toronto and is a crafty point guard that helps generate openings for Gay and DeRozan offensively. Rubio is coming off a 10-point, three-assist effort against CSKA Moscow in which he shot 4-of-8 from the field. He’s looked solid all camp, but coming off EuroBasket duties and playing in back-to-backs on Wednesday and Thursday nights, his minutes could be limited.

Injury Report

The Wolves will be without Chase Budinger (left knee surgery), whose return timetable is still to be determined. Dante Cunningham did not play on Monday due to flu-like symptoms, and J.J. Barea did not play due to personal reasons. The Raptors currently have no injuries to report.


Probable Starters

  Timberwolves Raptors
PG Ricky Rubio Kyle Lowry
SG Kevin Martin DeMar DeRozan
SF Corey Brewer Rudy Gay
PF Kevin Love Amir Johnson
C Nikola Pekovic Jonas Valanciunas

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