Game Preview: Raptors vs Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves (2-2) @ Toronto Raptors (4-0)
When: Wednesday, Oct. 24th, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena
Leading into tonight:
Injury Report: For the Raptors, Delon Wright is listed as questionable with a left adductor strain. Wright was injured during a preseason victory against the Brooklyn Nets and has not yet made his season debut. He participated in Tuesday’s practice and Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said that though the team is not 100 percent certain he will play on Wednesday against Minnesota, he is on track to return soon. For the Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins is questionable after leaving Minnesota’s 101-91 victory against the Indiana Pacers on Monday with a quad contusion. Centre Justin Patton underwent surgery on September 18 to repair the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and is sidelined indefinitely.
Home court: Wednesday’s game will be the second of three straight games played at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors are slated to play six of their first eight games at home, before heading west for a four-game road trip next week. The Raptors have won 14 straight home games against the Timberwolves, dating back to Jan. 21, 2004. This is a franchise record for consecutive victories against a single opponent at home.
Hot start: Toronto currently has an NBA-best 4-0 record and is one victory away from matching the best start in franchise history (2015-16). In four victories, the Raptors have connected on 52 three-pointers, second in the NBA. Their average margin of victory in the first four games has been 12 points and the Raptors are averaging 118.3 points per contest. Kyle Lowry leads the Raptors with 15 made three-pointers, while Danny Green has 12 and Kawhi Leonard has connected on seven.
Lowry lighting it up: Kyle Lowry had another brilliant performance in Toronto’s 127-106 victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. Toronto’s point guard scored 16 points on 5-for-9 field goals to go with a game-high 14 assists in 32 minutes. He added two rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot and turned the ball over just once. “Man, he’s been amazing,” Danny Green said. “He’s very efficient, he’s been setting the tone start to finish. He compliments everybody very well.” The Raptors were a +25 with Lowry on the floor. He is averaging 21.5 points, 10.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 60 percent from the floor and 58 percent from the three-point line in Toronto's first four games of the season. His 10.0 assists per game are an NBA-best.
Kawhi rolling: Through the first week of the season, Kawhi Leonard continues to look more and more comfortable alongside his new teammates. Leonard had it going again against the Hornets, scoring 22 points in 31 minutes while making each of them look effortless. He shot 9-for-14 from the floor, 4-for-7 from three and added four rebounds, three assists, and two steals as he was a team-best +27 on the night. Toronto recorded 36 assists in Monday’s victory and have 102 assists over four games. “Kyle and Kawhi started that off," Fred VanVleet said of the ball movement on offence. "[They] kind of lead that charge and it trickles down to the rest of us." Leonard is leading the Raptors in scoring, averaging 25.7 points to go along with 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest.
Locking down: Through the first week of the season, only the Charlotte Hornets have connected on more three-point field goals than the Raptors. Heading into Monday’s game, Toronto knew it needed to keep the Hornets — especially point guard Kemba Walker — off the three-point line. Charlotte finished the game shooting 9-for-28 (32 percent) from deep, compared to Toronto’s 15-for-39 (39 percent) performance. Walker still scored a game-high 26 points for Charlotte, but only six of those came from beyond the arc, where he finished 2-for-7 from the floor. The Raptors were on fire from start to finish against the Hornets, shooting 58 percent from the floor while holding Charlotte to 43 percent shooting in the game.