The Minnesota Timberwolves had a chance to win Mr. Rick Adelman his 1000th game tonight, but fell just short to their opponents from the North.
The Wolves missed some key free throws down the stretch in this one, which ultimately allowed the Raptors to seal this narrow two-point W.
With 1:53 to play, Rubio stepped to the line and hit just 1 of 2 to make it a 91-92 Raptors lead. Rudy Gay responded on the ensuing Toronto possession with a mid-range jumper to make it 91-94 Toronto. The Wolves had a couple chances on a possession on the other end, but came up empty.
It was Raptors basketball with 1:12 to play. Toronto couldn't push the lead to double digits on that possession, however. On the next Wolves possession, Kirilenko was fouled by Rudy Gay, which sent him to the line for two free throws. AK went 1 of 2 at the line as well to make it 92-94 Toronto.
Kyle Lowry missed a three-pointer on the next Raptor possession, but Landry Fields was able to secure the miss. Dante then fouled Rudy Gay, but the Wolves had a foul to give. The Raptors burnt some time off the clock before calling two twenty-second timeouts. Out of the timeout Rudy Gay missed a 20-foot mid-range jumper with five seconds to play. Cunningham secured the rebound and got it to Rubio who raced up the court and got up a shot that missed...but he was fouled by DeMar DeRozan with just over 1 second to play.
Rubio went 1 of 2 at the line, to make it 93-94. Amir Johnson secured the rebound and was fouled, he stepped to the line for two free throws with 0.1 seconds to play. He hit the first and seemed to intentionally miss the second so there was no chance of a last second Wolves shot.
Missed free throws were the death of the Wolves tonight. Tonight's loss snapped the Wolves' first winning streak in over four months. This is also Toronto's sixteenth win in the last seventeen meetings with Minnesota.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Andre Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic turned in some great performances in this one, but it just wasn't enough. Nikola has been on a tear lately and some people said there was a chance that Valanciunas might be able to slow him down in this one. Jonas has put together a number of good games himself, but I knew there was no way that he'd be able to handle Pekovic down low.
Kirilenko matched up with Rudy Gay and had an excellent offensive night, going for 20 points on 80% shooting. The D on Gay left a bit to be desired, but a number of Gay's baskets came with AK on the bench. Rudy scored 12 in the second quarter and added another 10 in the fourth--finishing with 26 on the night to lead all scorers.
The last time we faced the Raptors, Kyle Lowry & DeMar DeRozan combined for 44 points (22 each). At that time, Rudy Gay was still donning a Grizzlies jersey. Tonight it was Rudy Gay & DeMar DeRozan who had great offensive nights to lead the Raps. They combined for 51 points (Gay with 26 & DeRozan with 25). They also both went 12-of-23 from the field. The one thing the Wolves did well was force those two into a lot of jumpshots, which percentage-wise is A LOT better than these two athletic swingman getting to the rim for easy throwdowns.
The Wolves are now 28-47, but they'll have another chance right away again tomorrow night when they take on the Pistons at the Target Center. Tipoff for that one is set for 7pmCT, stay tuned for the preview, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!