A dreadful fourth quarter on the offensive end led to a ten-point loss for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was the second game of a back-to-back-to-back set and fatigue certainly looked an issue versus a fresh Raptors squad led by Wolves former head coach: Dwane Casey.
Minnesota had a six-minute stretch where they went without a basket. Tied at 80-80, with under six minutes to go the game ended on a 17-7 Raptors run. led by Bargnani, A. Johnson & Calderon (who combined for 18 of Toronto's 24 points).
The Wolves' best player: Kevin Love, definitely looked gassed who's averaging almost 40mpg this season! He played 36 tonight and not all of them looked quality! Love finished with his lowest scoring output of the season; just 13 points and 14 rebounds on 3-of-16 shooting, two of those makes coming from deep and 5-for-10 from the free throw line.
One bright spot in tonight's loss? Minnesota's bench. Particularly the return of J.J. Barea. Barea has missed the past five of the past six games with a strained hamstring. His return garnered 16 points in 17 minutes off the bench. He didn't play in the final six or seven minutes, something I didn't understand as he was clearly 'hot' from the floor.
Let's take a look at some statistics from each team in tonight's game...
The Wolves shot a poor percentage from the field, clearly an off-night for the Wolves. They did hit seven 3's, but did so with a 29%-clip and once again they Wolves left points at the free throw line (7pts), both teams got the same number of points at the line, but Toronto did better from the field. For the second game in a row, the TWolves were out-rebounded, this time, the Raps with a +5 on the boards. And yet again the Wolves with too many turnovers, at some point, Rick Adelman will realize he can't afford to give Wesley 25 minutes a game (19 tonight) and in return: 0-for-5 shooting a couple rebounds and a couple turnovers. He's playing without confidence and some bench time may be the best option at this time. Start Ellington & Beasley (when he recovers) and actually get some scoring from your shooting guard. Ellington is good at not turning the ball over, as well. Averaging less than one turnover a game, while averaging in over 20 minutes a game!
Minnesota also desperately missed Michael Beasley tonight. They were without him for the second game in a row and tonight it actually mattered. In those 6+ scoreless minutes, they could've used his ability to create his own shot, during that stretch when the offense went stagnant! He'll be out for at least one more (tomorrow vs. Chicago), but there's a chance he could return for the Wolves' following game: Friday vs. New Orleans.
Overall, the play of Jose, Amir & Andrea were key in Toronto's victory. They accounted for all but 33 of Toronto's points as they played a combined 113 minutes! For Toronto, this is their first game of their own back-to-back-to-back set, could be a problem for them tomorrow!
Let's take a look at some statistics for each team's key players in tonight's game...
Through the Wolves' first 8 games, Kevin Love was a fixture among the Wolves' top players in the game. Tonight's performance drops him out of that--without a doubt. He did have 13 points and 14 rebounds but he did it on 19% from the field! His inability to create shots in the paint with post moves, really hurt him tonight! 2 of Love's 3 made field goals came from deep. Something he REALLY needs to work on! J.J.'s return went GREAT and the Wolves' play off the bench was key.
For Toronto, as I've now said twice before...Bargnani, Johnson & Calderon were key in the victory. Amir matched up very well with Love and Bargnani bested all of the Wolves' frontcourt players he matched up with: Tolliver, Darko, Love, Randolph & Williams.
The Wolves play again tomorrow versus the Bulls back at the Target Center. This'll end a back-to-back-to-back set for Minnesota. A full gameday preview of that game can be found on this site later tonight. Also stay tuned for some pictures and a video recap/highlights! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!