Raptors rebound with win over Timberwolves
By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
It was the sixth home victory in a row for the Raptors (20-18) and the 10th consecutive time they defeated theTimberwolves (18-21) at Air Canada Centre.,
But more important, it made up for a disappointing effort against the Celtics.
"I think we bounced back as a team from the other night," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We were disappointed that we got ambushed in Boston. They attacked us and we tried to turn it around at the end."
It was the third loss in a row for the Timberwolves but coach Rick Adelman does not feel that things are starting to slip away.
"You can't look at it that way," Adelman said. "You've got to keep playing, you've just got to move on to the next game. We played hard tonight. Kyle (Lowry) made some big shots."
Lowry was 6 for 9 from 3-point range and the Raptors were 11 for 24 as a team in 3-pointers.
"He's always played at a high level," Adelman said. "But he's shooting the ball really well."
"He's been the main focus in our success," Johnson said. "It was just a great team effort. We really wanted to win this one after that Boston game."
Lowry said the team is confident in taking 3-pointers.
"Everybody has confidence in each other," he said. "I know there's an attitude taking that shot. ... If we miss one, we know we'll probably make the next one."
Minnesota last won at ACC on Jan. 21, 2004, and the Raptors won 17 of the past 18 games between the teams.
Guard/forward Terrence Ross added 16 points and guard DeMar DeRozan had 15 for the Raptors. Forward Patrick Patterson came off the bench to score 11 points with five rebounds while center Jonas Valanciunas led Toronto with 11 rebounds to go with four points. Reserve forward Chuck Hayes had no points but grabbed nine rebounds. Guard Kevin Martin led Minnesota with 18 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, and forward Kevin Love added 16 points with 12 rebounds. Guard J.J. Barea scored 14 points for the Timberwolves, center Ronny Turiaf had six points and 10 rebounds and center Nikola Pekovic scored 13.
"We played hard tonight, we played great on defense," Barea said. "We had some bad luck, some shots didn't go especially on 3s (3 for 18). If we play with that energy every night and the passion on the defensive side, we're going to be fine."
The Raptors led by eight points entering the fourth quarter, but when forward Luc Mbah a Moute scored on a layup with 6:34 to play, the lead was reduced to three points. A short jumper by Valanciunas bumped the lead to 83-76 with 3:34 to play. Johnson picked up his fifth personal foul with 1:59 to play and Martin made both free throws to cut the lead to five.
Martin came back to score on a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two but DeRozan had the lead at four points on a jumper with 1:11 to play. The Raptors defense held and Lowry hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game to put Toronto ahead by seven with 14.6 seconds to play.
"It was a big shot," Lowry said. "We were able to kind of relax a little bit."
The Timberwolves cut the Raptors' four-point halftime lead to one point when Love opened the third quarter with a 3-point shot, but when Lowry hit a 28-foot 3-pointer with 3:50 play in the quarter, Toronto's lead was 62-53. The Raptors led 69-61 after three quarters.
The Raptors led 44-40 at halftime after the Timberwolves scored the final nine points of the second quarter.
DeRozan scored seven points to lead the Raptors to a 22-15 advantage after the first quarter.
The Raptors lost reserve guard/forward John Salmons after the first half with back spasms. He had two points and three assists in 10:29.
NOTES: Raptors F Tyler Hansbrough (left ankle sprain) did not play for the eighth consecutive game on Friday. ...Timberwolves F Kevin Love was in the lineup on Friday night after his knee was hit during a 111-108 loss on Wednesday night to the Sacramento Kings. Though the knee tightened as the game progressed, he finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Love missed both games last season against the Raptors, who were 2-0 against Minnesota. ... The Raptors wore their camouflage uniforms to commemorate Canadian Armed Forces Night. ... The Raptors are home Sunday afternoon to face the Los Angeles Lakers for their next game. ... TheTimberwolves' next game is against the Utah Jazz on Saturday at the Target Center.