Timberwolves Wrap: Raptors hold on late to beat Wolves, 105-100


The Timberwolves put up a fight north of the border on Wednesday night. Ricky Rubio returned after sitting the past couple of games out after tweaking his ankle but the other three-quarters of the Questionable Four (Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Garnett, and Gary Neal) sat out and Justin Hamilton also missed the game due to a severe headache.

Alas, the Wolves still only had eight available players and an acting head coach in Sam Mitchell as Flip Saunders was home in Cleveland tending to a personal matter.

The bonus storyline was the return of Canadian hero and Wolves’ Rookie of the Year front-runner Andrew Wiggins to his home province. He scored four points early in the game before finding quick foul trouble. Wiggins picked up his third personal foul as soon as he reentered the game in the second quarter after Kyle Lowry sold an offensive foul on one of a few Lowry flops over the course of the game.

Kevin Martin dropped 18 points on 6 of 7 shooting in the first quarter before cooling off considerably. He still got his share of shots up, however, making 14 of 28 shots on the night and scoring 37 points and adding 7 rebounds in 44 minutes.

This was the rare game in which the Wolves were severely out-shot by their opponents at the free throw line. The officiating was spotty to be sure, but the Raptors were certainly the aggressor.

The Wolves were within one possession a couple of times in the closing minutes but a forced jumper by Martin that clanged off the rim was followed by a Toronto bucket and a costly Rubio turnover to more or less ice the game for the home team.

Star of the Game

Kevin Martin – 37 points (14-28 FG, 5-9 3P, 4-4 FT), 7 rebounds, one steal, one block, 2 turnovers

Martin was just 8 for 21 from the field after the first quarter and didn’t have an assist on the night, but he was still the best player on the floor for Minnesota, save for possibly Chase Budinger.

The only thing that kept Budinger out of this spot was his three or four missed three-point attempts when he was wide open. He played well, however, scoring 19 points on 9 of 18 shooting in 36 minutes including just 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. Budinger also had eight rebounds, three assists, and a block.

Tweet of the Night

Stat of the Night

The Wolves were just 10 of 15 (66.7%) from the free throw line while the Raptors made 23 of 27 (85.2%). There was a stretch in the second quarter that saw Toronto get every single call, but outside of that weird string of plays, the Wolves were simply less aggressive than Dwayne Casey’s Raptors.

Notable Lines

  • Andrew Wiggins: 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers
  • Ricky Rubio: 2 points (1-4 FG, 0-1 3P), 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
  • Lorenzo Brown: 8 points (4-5 FG), 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, zero turnovers
  • Chase Budinger: 19 points (9-18 FG, 1-5 3P, 0-1 FT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, one block, one turnover

Who’s Got Next?

The Wolves turn around and face the other 14-win team in the league tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden in the New York Knicks. The Alexey Shved-led Knicks defeated the San Antonio Spurs in overtime on Tuesday night and the Wolves obviously played on Wednesday, so there’s a pretty decent shot that the Knicks win and the Wolves take the lead in the race for the best lottery odds.

Rubio played 30 minutes on a bum ankle tonight, too, so don’t be surprised if the Questionable Four and maybe even Hamilton miss another game, meaning that the Wolves will indeed lose.

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