The Toronto Raptors played their final game before the all-star break against the Minnesota Timberwolves and lost 117-112. Toronto led by as many as 18 points and they came out blazing scoring 68 points in the first half. The defence for the Raptors clearly didn’t show up tonight as they allowed the Wolves to score 117 points in regulation. One could argue that the Raptors are still missing James Johnson and DeMarre Carroll. However when you’re trying to make the jump to an elite team in the association, relinquishing a lead of that stature in such sloppy fashion does not bode well.
Karl Anthony-Towns was an absolute monster tonight leading all scorers with a career high 35 points and 11 rebounds. The Raptors head into the All-star break with a 35-17 record and won’t play again until February 19th against the Chicago Bulls.
Cages report card:
The offensive game for the Raptors was a tale of two halves. The first half showed a focused Raptors team, who were taking and making relatively good shots. The second half is where the team went cold as their lead slowly dwindled and was eventually overturned. Bad shot selection was the downfall for Toronto; Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross attempted to resuscitate the offence that died during the halftime break – they were unsuccessful. DeMar DeRozan carried the workload for Toronto as he finished with 35 points 3 assists and 4 rebounds.
I’ll make this simple. The Raptors gave up too many points, to a team they simply shouldn’t lose to. They failed to provide resistance on their roll coverages and lose their man in transition. Minnesota went to the line 53 times, demonstrating the lack of effort on Toronto’s end to actually defend. Not a good game defensively. Just looked plain lazy.
The Raptors just didn’t look like the Raptors we’ve seen most of the season. Maybe it was due to their competition. Maybe it was fatigue. Regardless they lost the battle on glass 45-39. Jonas Valanciunas led the team with 7 boards, but the continued effort of Towns (11 rebs) and Gorgui Dieng (10 rebs) was just too much to handle.
Game ball: Andrew Wiggins
Tonight’s game ball goes to Canadian hooper and reigning rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins finished with 26 points, but it was his aggression in the fourth that cemented the victory for the Wolves. Get well soon James & DeMarre!