The Minnesota Timberwolves struggled mightily in this one! I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that when you turn the ball over 24 times and allow your opponent to score 32 points off of those turnovers--you're going to lose that game, 99% of the time.
After one quarter it was a neck-and-neck game, with the Raptors leading 24-25. The TWolves showed really good energy through the first seven or eight possessions. After one minute, Pek already had four points. D-Will matched up vs. Toronto's best post player: Andrea Bargnani and did a decent job, holding him to just 6 points in the first half (Andrea would finish with 10 points on the night--adding the other 4 in the third quarter).
At halftime the Raptors found themselves up by 9, 47-56. That was thanks in large part to Toronto forcing 16 first half turnovers, which they were able to turn into 27 points! Minnesota was shooting 56% from the field in the first half, however on 16 of those possessions they didn't get a shot up and handed it back to the Raptors. The Wolves also held a 21-15 advantage in rebounds. While Toronto forced Minnesota into 16 for 27, the Wolves managed to force Toronto into 3 turnovers for 2 points in the first two quarters!
During the second quarter the Wolves lost J.J. Barea. On a slashing drive to the bucket, J.J. was knocked to the floor, hit his head and then Dante (unintentionally) kicked him in the face. Barea didn't return. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion and according to Alan Horton (via Twitter) a dentists was called! We'll have more on Barea later (and whether or not he can play tomorrow vs. Brooklyn).
After three quarters the Wolves began to close the gap again (getting within two points, at one point). Minnesota found themselves down 73-79. The Wolves had another three turnovers in that third quarter (and Toronto scored three more points 'off them').
I was praying for a fourth quarter comeback for Minnesota, but that certainly wasn't the case! The Wolves were outscored 13-26. With four minutes to play, Adelman 'called it a game' and put in his deep reserves (Lou Amundson, Will Conroy & Malcolm Lee--along with Dante Cunningham & Alexey Shved).
With this loss, the Timberwolves have lost 15 of the last 16 matchups versus Toronto. This is also the ninth-straight loss to the Raptors in Toronto, having not registered a W in Toronto since January 21, 2004 (@TOR).
Last season the Wolves' team high in turnovers was 28 vs. the Dallas Mavericks (on Feb. 10th--@DAL, which the Mavs turned into 30 points).
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers from each team...
Kirilenko had another great game, but I really didn't understand why he wasn't on the floor more (playing just 29 minutes). Nikola Pekovic was matched up with Jonas Valanciunas and it was basically no contest. Another thing I didn't understand? Why didn't we just give the ball to Pek everytime down the floor, the Raptors weren't bringing any double team and Pek's shot was certainly 'on'.
The Raptors backcourt had quite the game, combining for 44pts, 14reb, 7ast, 6stls, 4tos, 4fls, 16-24 FG, 3-5 3PT and 9-10 FT. A lot of that success coming off of those turnovers. Minneapolis native Alan Anderson had quite the game, scoring 18 points off the bench for the Raptors, who were without second-string forward Linas Kleiza and rookie forward Quincy Acy.
Let's get a look at the team stats...
Minnesota shot a better percentage from the field, found more points at the line and held a +2 in fast break points...that was it. The Raptors shot better percentages from three and the line, out-rebounded Minnesota by a +3 as well as a +8 on the offensive glass, a +6 in points in the paint and forced the TWolves into 13 more turnovers for 18 more points off turnovers.
The Timberwolves are now 1-1 on the season and 0-1 vs. Eastern Conference opponents. They'll get another chance vs. an East opponent tomorrow night vs. the Brooklyn Nets. I won't get the chance to watch that game, however I will have a recap of it late tomorrow (likely around 11pm), until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!