DeRozan, Lowry lead Raptors' victory
The Sports Xchange - MINNEAPOLIS - There were 1 1/2 minutes left in Sunday's game at Target Center when Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan hit a nail-in-the-coffin three-pointer - the last of the Raptors' 14 treys in the game - then turned to the Wolves bench, flexed and did a little jawing.
It was well deserved.
DeRozan and fellow guard Kyle Lowry were the one-two punch in Toronto's 111-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. DeRozan scored 25 points with seven rebounds. Lowry scored 20 points and added 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
Together, they willed the Raptors (35-26) to their third straight victory and their sixth in seven games.
They did not do it alone. But it was Lowry who was driving and dishing all night, setting his teammates up for open three-pointers. Toronto hit on 14-of-24 treys, with forward Steve Novak - playing extended minutes because of an elbow injury to Patrick Patterson - hitting 5-of-6. Novak, along with starting forwards Terrence Ross and Amir Johnson each scored 15 points.
"I tell you what," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey, whose team won its sixth straight and 18th in 19 games against Minnesota. "Kyle and DeMar, down the stretch, really turned it on. Kyle stuck his nose in there, penetrated, accepted the challenge.''
The Timberwolves? They have now lost two of three home games after coming off a 4-1 road trip. Minnesota(31-31) got 26 points, 11 boards and nine assists from forward Kevin Love and 20 points from guard Kevin Martin. Forward Corey Brewer and center Nikola Pekovic had 17 points each.
But the Wolves defense struggled all night, allowing Lowry to penetrate and cause havoc.
"We just have to do better," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said of a team whose playoff hopes are quickly fading. "We can't hang our heads. We got beat. We have to turn it around and come back Tuesday (against Milwaukee) and get a win."
It was a back-and-forth game all night, tied after a quarter and a one-point game at half.
But DeRozan and Lowry would not let Minnesota regain the lead in the second half. The two combined for 26 of Toronto's 58 second-half points.
"Lately my shot hasn't been falling, but I'll fight my way out of it," said Lowrey, who was 5-for-13 shooting. "But I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team win. Tonight that was getting some rebounds, some assists, some steals."
The Wolves trimmed a 10-point Raptors lead to two on Love's layup with 5:07 left in the game. But Lowry responded with his only three-pointer of the night. Then DeRozan hit a 21-footer. Moments later DeRozan hit that final three, which put the Raptors up 10, icing the game.
"It's always easy with Kyle," DeRozan said. "You just have to be ready to shoot.''
Toronto shot 48.7 percent overall and 58.3 percent on three-pointers. The Raptors out-rebounded the Wolves by 10 and had a 32-16 edge in points off the bench.
The win kept the Raptors in the third spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wolves, meanwhile, saw another opportunity slip away.
"It's tough," Brewer said. "There have been a lot of losses like that this year. For us to be any good, you can't have losses like that. We've got 20 games left. We've got to do something with them."
NOTES: Wolves F Kevin Love's 3-pointer early in the third quarter Sunday -- his third of the game -- gave him 143 for the season. Love surpassed Rashad McCants (142 in 2007-08) for the most in a single season in franchise history. ... Toronto F Patrick Patterson, one of the Raptors' top reserves, sustained an ulnar collateral sprain in his right (shooting) elbow Friday against Sacramento. He missed Sunday's game and will be lost for seven to 10 days, according to Toronto coach Dwane Casey. ... Backup Wolves G A.J. Price missed the game due to illness. ... Two of Toronto G Kyle Lowry's biggest fans are Wolves G Kevin Martin and Minnesota coach Rick Adelman, both of whom worked with Lowry in Houston. "He has really raised his game this year," Martin said. "He's put himself in the top 10 point guards in the league." ... Wolves backup C Ronny Turiaf missed his eighth game with a bone bruise on his right knee. He is scheduled to be re-examined this week, with the hopes of returning to practice.