Coming into the game, the Raps learned they'd be without Patrick Patterson, as he is now sidelined with a sprained elbow. He will be reevaluated in seven to 10 days. Nevertheless his absence didn't seem to hold the Raps back from getting the dub tonight as they won 111-104.
The Raptors were able to get the win for a number of reasons. Tonight, they played great defense, moved the ball unselfishly and put on a killer three-point display. With this win, the Raps now have won the last 18 of 19 meetings between both ball clubs.
The first quarter went well for the Raps. The Raps bigs started the game well playing great on both ends. Jonas Valancuinas was able to stay put on Nikola Pekovic at all times, making sure he wouldn't get any buckets, however Pek managed to swerve around Jonas, setting the tone early.
Pekovic and Jonas obtained seven points each, however they weren't able to control the ball as they both turned it over three times. It was grit and grind battle for both guys down low, until Dwane Casey decided to change the lineup.
Amir Johnson on the other hand was able to get nine early points, along with two assists. He was also able to hit a "summer three" all the way from downtown to end the first quarter. The game was tied 33 a piece at the end of the first.
At the end of the first quarter it was Terrence Ross who led the team as he had 10 points and one dime. The Raps were shooting 68 percent from the field and 75 percent from beyond the arc.
For the Wolves, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin did the heavy work as they had a combined 38 points for their squad. Pek also had eight rebounds, while Love had six.
The second quarter was where the bench unit started to become proactive. While DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for nine points, three-point shooter Steve Novak kept the team going as he hit two three pointers.
However turnover troubles began to mount as the club coughed it up five times. At the end of the second, As well, Toronto's shooting decreased to 36 percent from the field, only making seven of 19 shots and scoring 20 points after their blistering start. The Wolves scored 19 of their own, keeping them hot on Toronto's heels and the score was 53-52 at the half. DeRozan led Toronto with 13 points.
The third quarter is where the Raps picked up the slack. They field goal percentage increased to 45 percent, while their three point shooting was a tidy 50 percent.
Kyle Lowry was all over this quarter as he had four free throws, five rebounds -- two of which were offensive -- four dimes and eight points. As for the second unit, Greivis Vasquez had seven points on four free throws, one field goal and one three pointer.
For the Wolves, both Kevins had seven points each, while former Nugget, Corey Brewer had four. The Raps held the Wolves to just 34 percent from the field and only 20 points in the quarter.
With the game still close as ever, the Raps were to put it to rest as a small three-point party emerged from the team. DeRozan and Lowry made a three point shot each, while Novak continued doing what he does best, making two three pointers. As well, the Raps were shooting 80 percent from that area.
In the waning minutes with what looked like a Raptors win in the books, things took a quick turn. The Wolves' Brewer was fouled on a late play, but instead of stepping to the line to take the usual two, he missed his second free-throw on purpose, secured the rebound, and put in the lay-up. He then attempted it again and while he wasn't successful, Minnesota secured the rebound and nearly got the game to only two possessions.
But that was as close as it got and DeRozan and co. dribbled out the final seconds, finishing with the 111-104 win.
While DeRozan led the team with 21 points, the game ball goes to Kyle Lowry who finished with a triple-double of 20 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds -- his fifth career triple double -- as the Dinos swept the season series with Minny.
With this loss the Wolves are now back to .500 at 31-31. They will play against the Milwaukee Bucks next at home on Tuesday.
For the Raptors, they are now six games over .500 and play against the Brooklyn Nets tomorrow night. The Nets however will be without Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko due to injury.