Wolves @ Raptors Gameday
Wolves @ Raptors 6:00 PM - Air Canada Centre
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.
* Luke Ridnour (personal reasons) - OUT
* Wayne Ellington (personal reasons) - OUT
* Linas Kleiza (knee surgery) - OUT
* G Leandro Barbosa (hamstring) - QUESTIONABLE
* F Reggie Evans (broken foot) - OUT
Just six days ago, Toronto traveled to Minnesota for a contest that featured two teams in desperate search of a victory to snap long losing streaks. The Wolves cruised to a 103-87 win to halt the six-game slide while the Raptors failed on their attempt and dropped the following two games on the road. Toronto’s losing skid has now reached 13 games but the team hopes a little home cooking will heal all wounds with nine of its next 11 contests at the Air Canada Centre. Another bright spot for the Raptors is the potential return of Leandro Barboa, who practiced on Thursday and continues to rehab an injured right hamstring suffered on Jan. 14. The Brazilian would be a welcome sight for an injury plagued Toronto squad that is searching for another offensive option in the backcourt.
Last Time Out
Despite all the starters registering double-digits, the Raptors could not slow down Atlanta’s Joe Johnson as he erupted for 37 points in a 100-87 victory over Toronto on Wednesday night.
From the opening tip, the Wolves seemed lethargic and unable to match the offensive rhythm of Grizzlies on Wednesday. As a result, Memphis toppled Minnesota at the Target Center 102-84.
The Numbers Game
In the previous meeting against the Raptors, the Wolves limited the road team to a season-low 33.7 percent shooting from the floor and 21.4 percent at the 3-point line.
Darko Milicic vs. Andrea Bargnani
The last scouting report featured a matchup watch between Corey Brewer and DeMar DeRozan. Brewer and the Wolves backcourt kept DeRozan at bay by holding the high-flyer to only six points on 2-for-11 field goal attempts. After watching the first contest between the two teams, it was apparent that Raptors center Andrea Bargnani felt he owned an advantage over Minnesota big man Darko Milicic. Bargnani was ineffective (5-for-24) but displayed an ultra aggressive approach and attacked Milicic early with eight attempts from the floor in the first quarter. While the Italian struggled in Minneapolis, he remains a difficult defensive assignment due to his ability to shoot the long ball and drag Milicic deep out on the perimeter. On the other side of the floor, Milicic searches for a solid outing after only posting three points and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action against the Grizzlies.
What to Look For
All the social media buzz around Kevin Love’s All-Star snub will not necessarily motivate the Wolves double-double machine for tonight’s contest but it may serve as a rallying point for the team. Most NBA analysts believe the 11-37 Minnesota record soured coaches on voting for Love, regardless of his historic numbers. Love will attempt to extend his double-double streak to 35 straight games tonight, potentially closing the gap to Kevin Garnett’s record of 37 consecutive double-doubles over two seasons.
From a team concept, head coach Kurt Rambis would like to see improved ball movement and a renewed focus on the defensive end of the floor. The Wolves allowed Memphis to shoot above 46 percent from the field and 3-point line on Wednesday night in a lackluster 18-point defeat. Second-year point guard Jonny Flynn will receive his second start of the season while Luke Ridnour attends to a personal matter. Flynn has recorded a combined 21 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds in his last two outings.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.