Wolves Fall To Raptors In Guard-Heavy Matchup
After losing 82-80 to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday evening, the Minnesota Timberwolves fall to 0-2 in Summer League play.
And that’s fine. It’s Summer League and what’s most important is improvement and for many players, catching up and/or adjusting to speed of the NBA.
The positives from Friday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets were consistent with Sunday’s performance.
Once again, No. 5 pick Kris Dunn looked like he belonged. He finished with a team-high 21 points to go with nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. He shot 9-for-17 from the field.
Of course, there is still plenty to improve on for Dunn. He shot 0-for-4 from the 3-point line, turned the ball over four times and committed eight fouls (a player is allowed 10 in Summer League).
“I think just the detail of (the game),” Dunn said on some challenges of the NBA game. “The NBA, there’s so much to it that you have to learn. I think once you learn the game, it slows down.”
Fellow guard Tyus Jones also played well, finishing with 18 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. He shot 2-for-4 from the 3-point line and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
And most importantly, Jones and Dunn (two players who play primarily point guard), meshed together well when they were both on the court.
“When you have guys around you that can also make plays, and make plays for you, it just makes my job easier, I try to make their job easier,” Jones said. “… We are getting used to playing with each other and getting used to each other.”
Dunn and Jones went up against Emmanuel Mudiay and Gary Harris, two players with NBA experience, on Friday. On Sunday, they went up against the duo of Norman Powell and Delon Wright, also two players with NBA experience. Powell, entering his second season, was a big part of Toronto's postseason run.
Those two, Powell especially, ended up being the difference. Powell finished with 29 points, while Wright added 13.
Summer League head coach Ryan Saunders said that playing against guys with NBA experience, even in a loss, is still extremely valuable for Minnesota’s backcourt duo. After all, those players are closer to the skill level of those they’ll go up against night-in and night-out during the regular season.
“That’s what this Summer League is about,” Saunders said. “It’s about experience and getting guys better and like I said, we all want to win. The competitor always wants to win in you… But getting experience and getting these guys better is the name of the game.”
Rounding out the box score for the Wolves was Adreian Payne’s 13 points and Xavier Silas’ 12 points.
Bruno Caboclo finished with 15 points for the Raptors.
Highlight of the Game
Dunn continued to display his toughness with 3:30 left in the second quarter. After driving and getting blocked, Dunn pulled in his own rebound and went back up with power, finishing with a bucket and the foul.
Apologies to Jakob Poeltl’s lip.
The Numbers Game
- Minnesota struggled from the 3-point line, shooting just 27.8 percent (5-for-18).
- Toronto lottery pick Jakob Poeltl was somewhat of a non-factor, finishing with six points and five rebounds.
- The Raptors had nine blocks compared to three from the Wolves.
Player of the Game
For the second consecutive game, Dunn takes this honor. He constantly attacked the Raptors’ defense and put them on edge. He was the only starter with a positive +/- (+5).
The Wolves are back at it tomorrow to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. CT at the Thomas and Mack Center. The game will air on NBATV.