The Raptors and Timberwolves almost met while travelling on exactly opposing trajectories. Right as Toronto was winning its 14th game in a row on Saturday, the Wolves were in the process of winning their first — after losing 13 games in a row. If you’re a Minnesota fan, this is a story you’ve heard before. The franchise has made the playoffs once since 2004, and that was only in the brief window of time in which they employed Jimmy Butler. Not a lot has gone right in the interim.
What’s more, most of the other players from that one playoff squad are now gone (including the thought-to-be-untradeable Andrew Wiggins). The Wolves still have their literal centrepiece though: Karl-Anthony Towns. If he can’t figure out how to get it done — by himself, and in combination with whoever his current or future teammates are or turn out to be — it feels like Minnesota will sink back to the place from whence they came. It feels almost normal or comforting now, but again: it has to suck if you’re a Wolves fan.
Nevertheless, one of Karl’s new teammates is D’Angelo Russell, who appears to be in questionable condition for tonight’s contest. He, along with Towns, has shown the ability to light it up in an NBA game. But as yet, we don’t know how the pair will play together — or if it will lead to a different outcome for the Wolves. Tonight, that will change though as Russell is set to play.
But all of this scene-setting buries the Toronto-related leded. The Raptors are getting some good and bad news today. First, Kyle Lowry’s whiplash has apparently cleared up and he’s going to try to play tonight. That’s direct from coach Nick Nurse, who hedged his confidence level by framing Lowry’s return in terms of what he “believes” will happen. If nothing else, the path to Toronto’s 15th straight win could be just a little easier. On the bad side: Serge Ibaka, currently playing some of the best ball of his life, is out tonight with flu-like symptoms. (If it turns out Ibaka got a cold because he spent too much time outside without a scarf on, I will have no choice but to laugh.)
In any case, below are the (considerably) updated details for the game. Here’s the full preview from this morning. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One at 7:30pm EST
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Minnesota — Josh Okogie, Juan Hernangomez, Malik Beasley, D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns
Toronto — Marc Gasol (out - hamstring), Norman Powell (out - finger), Serge Ibaka (out - flu), Dewan Hernandez (out - ankle)
Minnesota — Jake Layman (out - toe)