Wolves vs. Raptors Gameday





Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Raptors 7:00 PM - Target Center
> Where to Listen: 1130 KFAN AM

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
Cleveland fans received a ton of sympathy this offseason following LeBron James’ decision to bolt for Miami. The Raptors supporters are in the same boat, considering the franchise has lost Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and Chris Bosh over the last decade. Bosh left Toronto without an All-Star scorer in the low post and searching for a new direction heading into the 2010-11 season. A failed experiment with Hedo Turkoglu forced the Raptors to ship him out West and nine days ago the team waived Peja Stojakovic. The remaining crop of players is suffering through a 10-game losing streak, the longest since the 2005-06 season. In all fairness, Toronto faced an extremely challenging portion of the schedule during the skid, playing road games against New Orleans, San Antonio, Orlando, and Miami in consecutive contests. The Raptors will have to find a way to earn victories away from Toronto with four of their next five games on the road.

Last Time Out
While Toronto battled late, Milwaukee topped the Raptors 116-110 in overtime last night.

The Wolves dropped their sixth straight game with a 108-100 loss in Utah. Minnesota had an opportunity to snatch the road win, only trailing by one point at the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter. However, turnovers and cold shooting down the stretch halted any comeback chance for the Wolves.

The Numbers Game
Michael Beasley and Kevin Love represent one of five sets of teammates who are both averaging 20-plus points per game this season.

Match-up to Watch
Corey Brewer vs. DeMar DeRozan
Opposing teams focus on Andrea Bargnani after he took over the scoring reins for the departed Bosh. Bargnani is certainly a concern for the Minnesota frontline but the recent offensive surge from second-year shooting guard DeMar DeRozan is the matchup to watch tonight for a variety of reasons. Averaging 15.7 points per game this season, DeRozan is red-hot over his last five games by posting 22.2 per game. The ultra-athletic wing player was recently named to the 2011 Dunk Contest and is starting to show an all-around game outside of the highlight reel jams. Minnesota’s best on-ball defender, Corey Brewer will draw the defensive assignment tonight, pitting two players with similar physical attributes against each other. Offensively, Brewer attempts to bounce back from a 1-for-7 shooting performance last night in Utah.

What to Look For
Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis said his squad was not defensively connected in the loss to the Jazz on Friday. The turnovers will also a major factor for Minnesota as the team coughed up the rock 25 times, resulting in 30 Utah points. Remarkably, the Wolves were within striking distance late in the game and once again received a 20/15 performance from Love. Another positive sign for Minnesota was Wes Johnson’s 19 points and now the rookie has put together three consecutive games with double-digit points.

One team will snap a long losing streak tonight at the Target Center. Both squads allow over 105 points per game but Minnesota owns a sizable advantage on the glass heading into the matchup. Expect a high scoring game and turnovers will be a key factor for two teams in search of a much needed victory.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.