Raptors vs. Timberwolves GameDay Preview: Another Lottery Battle

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Toronto Raptors will attempt get the tank back on track tonight as they head to the Target Center to hold court with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Dinos are coming off a surprising win against the Washington Wizards where they harmed their chances of getting a top draft pick.

The T-Wolves were expected to be more competitive this season but haven’t really lived up to that expectation. Injuries to Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio have hampered the team’s chances of making a run at the postseason and their record is marginally better than high-flying Toronto Raptors.

Here are three things that need to happen to ensure a Raptors win.

1) Fast Start: The Raptors often start out in a lazy manner when on the road. The Target Centre isn’t the most intimidating of arenas but that doesn’t seem to matter to this year’s Raptors squad. The Dinos will need to get off to a quick start to keep up with the often fast-paced T-Wolves.

2) Point Guards: Kyle Lowry has blown hot and cold this season. Apart from an early-season hot streak, the former Houston Rocket hasn’t done much to endear himself to fans. He comes up against Ricky Rubio tonight, a player that was drafted four spots ahead of DeMar DeRozan. Rubio sat out the beginning of the year but has since rounded into form and is an elite playmaker. The former Barcelona point guard will be a stiff test for Lowry and the winner of this matchup will go a long way in deciding which team emerges with a victory

3) Bench Production: When analyzing the moderate amount of wins that this team have managed to accumulate this season one constant seems to keep coming up. That would be the team’s bench. When they play well the team seems to win. It will be up to guys like Alan Anderson, John Lucas, Terrence Ross and Landry Fields to be game-changers when they step on the court. The T-Wolves aren’t a deep team by any means and if Raptors bench plays smartly with energy and intensity it will give them team a great chance to get a win.

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