The Toronto Raptors returned to the Air Canada Centre to take a 114-105 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. Toronto was led by DeMar DeRozan’s big 31 point game and the result gives the team their 9th straight home victory (equal franchise record). A strong finish in the first quarter meant the Raptors were leading by 9 before the Timberwolves came back in the second to reduce the deficit to 3 after a high scoring first half. Another strong finish which saw Kyle Lowry score 12 last quarter points allowed the Raptors to take control late and run out 9 point winners. From the bench Cory Joseph finished with 18 points and 6 assists while Bismack Biyombo came in for 11 rebounds. All reserves who played more than 15 minutes ended the game with at least a +15 impact, Patrick Patterson, Corey Joseph and Bismack Biyombo all finished with at least +20. Canadian Andrew Wiggins top scored for the visitors with 26.
The bright light was DeMar DeRozan and his 31 point game, he shot 11-19 from the field and also nailed two 3 point attempts. Kyle Lowry chipped in with 21 but was far less effective on his shooting range, only managing 6-14 and 3-8 from beyond the arc. Corey Joseph was very productive on his way to 18. The shooting was slightly down from two nights ago against the Knicks but as team the Raptors still managed to shoot 48% from the field, the most important thing was that when it mattered most the Raptors made it count, the score was tied at 101 with just under 4 minutes remaining, the Raptors would go on to outscore Minnesota 13-4 for the win.
Minnesota is a highly offensive team that has played in some high scoring games this season. Tonight the Raptors were able to hold them to 105 which is more than a lot of other teams can say. Ricky Rubio continues to put up big assist numbers, tonight taking 12 for a double double and at times the Timberwolves can look unstoppable on offence. Good news was tonight the Raptors got the key stops, only giving up two baskets in the final 3 minutes and forcing 17 turnovers for the night. Minnesota actually managed 60% from beyond the arc but they only took 10 of those compared with the Raptors 26. It was even right to the end but Toronto’s defence eventually prevailed against a big shooting side.
The Raptors won the rebounding battle 39-36, Minnesota are generally strong in this department obviously with the likes of Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins in the starting 5. Toronto’s reserve centre Biyomobo pulled in the most rebounds as the Raptors managed to edge out a tough battle. Due to both teams high shooting percentage the boards came at a premium tonight.
Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan
The Raptors star player put in 31 points to lead his team to victory in a stand out game. While a lot of credit should also go to Lowry for taking over late and the bench who really kept things ticking the game ball tonight belongs to the Raptors winning-est player in franchise history DeMar DeRozan.