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LVSL: Raptors Eliminated by Wolves in Heartbreaker, 81-79

After a solid first three quarters, a shaky 4th and terrible call cost the Raptors their perfect record and place in the Las Vegas Summer League semifinals.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors' Summer League is over, thanks to a close 81-79 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The game came down to the final play. Tied with one second left on the clock, the Timberwolves inbounded the ball to Tyus Jones, who took and missed a contested two, which would have sent the game to overtime. But on the play, Jones stuck his leg out sideways in a very egregious attempt to initiate contact, and the referees fell for it, calling a foul on Moreira and sending Jones to the line to ice the game with two free throws, both of which he made. Game over.

Freeze frame from NBA League Pass broadcast of Raptors/Timberwolves Summer League Game.

The game started a little rough, with the Raptors committing a lot of fouls and having no success defending the three point line. The Wolves scored their first two point field goal with 11 seconds left in the first quarter, with their other 18 points coming from shooting 4/6 from three and a constant parade to the line. The Raptors tried some big lineups with Poeltl at PF beside Kirk in the latter half of the quarter, and it seemed to work OK. Poeltl scored well on the pick and roll despite badly missing an alley oop dunk in the quarter. The Raptor were down 20-15 after one.

Early in the second quarter, the Raptors' reserves stepped up on defence, generating a 14-0 run in the first 4 minutes to give the Raptors a 9 point lead that they would sit on for the rest of the quarter. Van Vleet was a standout with his on-ball defence. Once the starters came back in, the game became a back and forth affair and slowed down a bit. The biggest highlight for the rest of the half was the ball getting stuck on top of the backboard, Bruno knocking it loose with another ball (which in turn got stuck on top of the backboard) and Poeltl knocking that ball loose with the handle of a floor mop.

The score was 42-34 at the half. Toronto was dominant inside, shooting 15-26 in the paint, while Minnesota was 3-10.

In the third quarter, the starters kept the lead right around 10 for most of the quarter. Once again, three pointers kept Minnesota in the game in spite of Toronto's continued dominance inside. The quarter would end 65-57 for Toronto. 24 of the Raptors' 28 field goals to this point had come in the paint. Toronto was winning the rebound battle 36-19, and the second chance points battle 13-2.

The bench started strong again in the 4th quarter, pushing the lead to 13, before going cold, missing layups, turning the ball over and committing shot clock violations, letting the lead slip back to 6 by the time all the starters returned to the game. Minnesota caught fire from 3 again for a short stretch, tying the game up at 70 with 4 minutes left, as the Raptors continued to miss shots in close. It gets worse, though, as during this stretch Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder and had to leave the game. X-Rays were negative, but he would not return to the game. It does sound like it is not as bad as it looked at the time though.

After pushing the lead to 6 with some nice ball movement, the Raptors started playing very sloppily, turning the ball over and using too much shot clock, letting the Wolves back in it with a 7-0 run, as Minnesota would regain the lead 77-76 with 45 seconds left.

After 2 points for the Wolves off free throws from a Poeltl loose ball foul, Norman Powell hit his first three of the night to tie the game on a heavily contested attempt. But on the following play, that aforementioned bad call would end the game and the playoff run for the Raptors.

It's unfortunate that Summer League is over for a team that played so well for so much of it.

Next up in terms of watching Raptors play basketball is the Rio Olympics, with Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan lined up to participate.