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Game Thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

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Settling back in Tampa, the Raptors welcome the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves and continue their hunt for a .500 record. Let’s watch.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors are back in Tampa after a loss in Boston to the Celtics. Not the best turn of events, but the mood is generally more settled than that. The Raptors now know they will spend the rest of the year in Florida, which is disappointing but at least offers the comfort of certainty; meanwhile, they’ve been playing much better than their 2-8 start to the season, which provides additional assurances too.

Toronto’s opponent tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves, feel like a team forever reeling. Despite numerous lottery picks over the years, including a few number one selections (both two of their own, and a pair earned via trade), the Timberwolves have never managed to feel particularly threatening as a franchise. The closest they came of late was their brief dalliance with Jimmy Butler, who caught on quick that things weren’t going to happen there and bullied his way out of town. Really, who could blame him?

What this means for the Raptors — being presented with the league-worst Timberwolves as they stare down another lost season — should be obvious. Toronto’s modus operandi last year, the reason why they were on such a torrid pace throughout the regular season, was that they took care of business against their lessers. Sure, they had a ceiling against the elite teams of the league, but against the messy, less disciplined, or downright sad squads in the NBA, the Raptors could be trusted to win. That concept has been put to the test this year, with the Raps trying to rediscover themselves somewhat on the fly. But after a 4-2 road trip, and a general upward trend in their play, now it’s time to see if they can put the clamps on a team that is clearly beneath them.

In any case, we’ve got the full Raptors-Timberwolves preview here from Satbir in case you want to read more. Below are the updated details. And now, let’s watch.

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet at 7pm EST

Lineups:

Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norm Powell, Pascal Siakam, Aron Baynes

Minnesota – Ricky Rubio, Malik Beasley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Karl Anthony-Towns

Injuries:

Toronto – OG Anunoby (calf – questionable), Yuta Watanabe (ankle – doubtful), Patrick McCaw (knee – out)

Minnesota – D’Angelo Russell (leg – out), Jarrett Culver (ankle – out)