Toronto tops Wolves once again, 109-104
TORONTO - Until Tuesday night, the Timberwolves hadnt won a game in Toronto since their young star Andrew Wiggins was eight years old there.
Well, they still havent, not after a 109-104 loss to the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors now have beaten the Wolves the last 14 times the teams have played in Toronto, dating to a Jan. 21, 2004 Wolves victory there.
This time, the Raptors did so by overcoming an early 13-point deficit with a fourth-quarter burst of their own.
Trailing since the games opening minutes, the Raptors pulled even by early in the fourth quarter and then scored 10 unanswered points and took a 92-84 lead with fewer than eight minutes left.
They did it with reserves Jakob Poeltl and Norman Powell and not All Star Game-bound DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry leading the way.
One night earlier, the Wolves were outrebounded in a loss at Atlanta by a Hawks team that owned the NBAs worst record.
On Tuesday, the Wolves couldnt keep Poeltl, a second-year big man from Utah off the backboards.
He provided a putback basket and a tip-in basket during that 10-0 run and Powell provided a three-point shot in between Poeltls work on the offensive boards.
The Raptors led by as many as eight points in the games final five minutes. But Karl-Anthony Towns putback basket and Wiggins three-pointer brought the Wolves within 103-101 with 1:01 left.
But DeRozans short shot from the lane extended Torontos lead to 105-101 with 41.4 seconds left and when Wiggins launched another three that missed with 19 seconds left, the Raptors grabbed the rebounds and made free throws after the Wolves were forced to foul.
It didnt help that the Wolves missed four free throws in the games final eight minutes.
DeRozan led the Raptors with 23 points.
The Wolves ended a grueling January 9-7, but just 1-8 on the road after theyve lost their last three there.
The Wolves last victory at Toronto came more than a month before Wiggins ninth birthday.
Its unfortunate we cant win here right now, Wiggins said before the game. But a new season, a new day. Weve got a new team, a lot different players different from last year. Get this one today.
They didnt, losing 10 days after they played without injured Jimmy Butler and still beat Toronto 115-109 at Target Center.
Wiggins scored 29 points and Towns scored all of his 22 points after halftime in that one.
Butler led the Wolves with 25 points and Wiggins scored but 17 on a 7-for-22 shooting night.
He seems to be a different player, Raptors coach Dwane Casey said before the game, referring to whenever Wiggins plays his hometown team We know hes a great player already. He gets that extra boost once he comes here or plays against us anywhere.
Casey predicted the Wolves will be ready to play after Mondays horrible loss in Atlanta.
In Kentucky, we call it `Mad as a wet hen, Casey said. Im sure theyre going to be excited. We should be, too, the way they spanked us up there in Minneapolis.
Tonight is the end of a grueling January in which the Wolves played 17 games and finish a stretch where they have played two sets of back-to-backs in the past seven days.