Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Raptors
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Minnesota Timberwolves (28-46) vs Toronto Raptors (28-47) — 7:00 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: No local/NBA League Pass
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
The month of April has been traditionally unkind to the Wolves, but so far it has yielded two victories—the first back-to-back pair of wins for Minnesota since December. Tonight they host Toronto, hoping to capture coach Rick Adelman’s 1,000th career win at home. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on 830 WCCO-AM.
Minnesota already gained a win this week against the worn-down Celtics, and the Raptors will be without top forwards Andrea Bargnani (sprained elbow) and could be missing Rudy Gay (sprained ankle). Amir Johnson (10.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG) has filled in for Bargnani, and Landry Fields (4.9 PPG) or Terrence Ross (6.2 PPG) will probably replace Gay if he cannot go.
Toronto seems a long way removed from their five-game win streak in February. They’ve gone 2-7 over their last nine contests, and that includes losses to the Pistons and Bobcats. They are coming off a win, however, an 88-78 home win against Washington.
Last Time Out: Nov. 4, 2012
Going all the way back to the second game of the regular season, Toronto bested Minnesota in their last contest against each other, 105-86 on Nov. 4.
The Wolves turned the ball over 24 times—including 16 times in the first half—and they could never recover.
"The first half is where we got killed," Adelman said. "Sixteen turnovers, you can't do that on the road. You can't succeed, you open up the door for them."
This ended up being the 15th time out of 16 straight tries that the Wolves have lost to the Raptors; Minnesota has not won in Toronto since January 2004.
The game ended about as poorly as it started for the Wolves as they were outscored 26-13 in the fourth quarter. Toronto largely took care of the ball, giving up just 11 turnovers.
"It's too many turnovers," Kirilenko said. "You can't win the game when every guy loses three of four balls. We have to work on this. It wasn't really forced turnovers, we just threw them away."
Andrei Kirilenko led the Wolves with 17 points and Nikola Pekovic had 15. J.J. Barea scored nine points before leaving the game with a concussion suffered on a drive to the hoop.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each had 22 points for Toronto.
Key Matchup: Kyle Lowry and Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio was doing unexpected things against Milwaukee, including taking pull-up 3-pointers in transition. He totaled 5-for-6 from beyond the arc, easily his best long-range shooting night of his career. He has totaled double-digit scoring in 12 of his last 14 games, impressive marks for a players who has struggled with his jumpshot throughout his career. There’s almost no way he can follow up his last performance from deep, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to shoot well from outside.
Kyle Lowry has been okay for Toronto, and his assist numbers have been more than solid (13 in his last game against Washington). He needs to improve his scoring, however, as he’s leading a team that does not have a true top threat without a healthy Bargnani or Gay. We know Lowry can produce, it’s just a matter of timing.
Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law
The Wolves continue to enjoy consistent health since the return of Chase Budinger from knee surgery and Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic from minor setbacks in mid/late March. They continue to await word on Kevin Love’s status, although with nine games remaining time is running out. For the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani is out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Kyle Lowry|
|SG||Luke Ridnour||DeMar DeRozan|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Rudy Gay|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Amir Johnson|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Jonas Valanciunas|