Timberwolves Wrap: Raptors Hold Off Wolves in Toronto

Feb 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) controls the ball as Toronto Raptors forward James Johnson (3) defends at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) controls the ball as Toronto Raptors forward James Johnson (3) defends at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

105. 86. 114. 81. Final

The Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Toronto Raptors by a score of 114-105 Wednesday night.

It was a hard-fought game that was close the whole way through. DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors with 31 points, including a big three late in the game. Kyle Lowry pitched in 21 points and six assists of his own and Cory Joseph added 18 points and six assists off the bench.

Andrew Wiggins paced the Wolves with 26 points, including a scorching first half where he scored 18 points on 7-9 shooting. Ricky Rubio also had a great first half, dropping 10 of his 12 dimes for the game, and he finished with 12 points as well.

Tayshaun Prince started over Zach LaVine this game, and some good defense combined with Wiggins’ hot start got the Wolves a quick 19-12 lead midway through the first quarter. However, Wiggins picked up two quick fouls and headed to the bench after scoring eight early points.

The defense struggled mightily for the rest of the quarter, which the Raptors ended on a 12-2 run to take a 37-28 lead after the first quarter. The Wolves shot 61 percent in the quarter, but allowed Toronto to put up an even better 67 percent mark from the field.

The Wolves kept fighting in the second quarter, however, and were able to go into the halftime break down just two points.

Wiggins checked back in a few minutes into the second quarter and picked up right where he left off, scoring 10 more points and hitting some really tough shots. Although the Wolves were losing, they were playing with great flow on offense and tightened up their defense a bit when the starters came back in to close the half.

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The third quarter was more of the same: both teams kept fighting for an edge, but neither team could really get one.

Tyus Jones played extremely well in his stint in the third quarter, which included picking up a charge at half-court on Terrence Ross. Ross argued the call and quickly got two technicals, getting him disqualified from the game.

The fourth quarter was back-and-forth as well, and the Wolves went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 101 with 3:30 left. As has been the case all too often this season, the Wolves began to self-destruct at the end of this close game.

After Lowry hit a three to put the Raptors back on top, the Wolves turned the ball over on two of their next three possessions, including an ugly shot clock violation.

DeRozan then hit a contested three from the right corner to put Toronto up 107-101 with 1:51 left. The Wolves were able to trade a few baskets with the Raptors after that point, but were never able to get it to a one possession game and truly threaten the Raptors.

Nevertheless, this was another great game by the Wolves against one of the best teams in the league. If Wiggins had been able to carry over his hot shooting into the second half (he shot just 2-10 in the second half after his 7-9 start), this game may have very well ended in another Wolves victory.

The Wolves should be encouraged by how they played, but hopefully they clean up their crunch-time offense for the future.

Tweet of the Night

Star of the Night

DeMar DeRozan – 31 points (11-19 FG, 2-2 3P, 7-8 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers

DeRozan was able to carry the Raptors offense on an evening in which Rubio again hounded Lowry (usually the best player for the Raptors) into another poor offensive shooting night.

He was able to play his game and consistently got to the rim, but he also hit a couple of threes, including the one with under 2 minutes remaining that pushed the Raptors lead to six points.

Cory Joseph also earned consideration for this spot with his great play off the bench (18 points and six assists). His play was a stark contrast to LaVine, who usually brings offensive firepower off the bench for the Wolves but who struggled tonight.

Notable Timberwolves Lines

Andrew Wiggins – 26 points (9-19 FG, 2-2 3P, 6-9 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers

Gorgui Dieng – 21 points (8-9 FG, 5-6 FT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers

Ricky Rubio – 12 points (2-3 FG, 2-2 3P, 6-6 FT), 12 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals

Karl-Anthony Towns – 16 points (5-13 FG, 0-1 3P, 6-8 FT), 6 rebounds, 1 steal

Who’s Got Next?

The Wolves will receive two days off before heading down to New Orleans for another match-up with the Pelicans. The Pelicans blew out the Wolves in the second-to-last game before the All-Star break, so the Wolves will be looking for a better result this time.

Next: Should the Timberwolves Trade Andrew Wiggins?

The game is the first end of a back-to-back that sees the Wolves play Dallas on Saturday. Both games have an early start at 6:00 PM Central Time, so make sure to prepare for that so you don’t miss out on any Wolves action.