The Toronto Raptors train towards the playoffs continues to hum along! Fresh off of an overtime thriller of a win against the depleted Boston Celtics, the Raptors welcome the surprising Minnesota Timberwolves to the Big Bank Arena. Burying the lead some, but the word surprising is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence in place of the words “usually bad, but not this year”!
Toronto will have their hands full with a Minnesota team that loves to push the pace and run the ball at every opportunity. They’ll also have to deal with a likely All-NBA talent in Karl-Anthony Towns. Thankfully, Toronto has a likely All-NBA talent of their own in Pascal Siakam, along with a handful of players who should be able to slow Towns down some. Look for Coach Nick Nurse to employ some quirky looks to deal with the self-anointed “best shooting big man of all time”. The phrase self-anointed is doing some heavy lifting in that sentence in place of the words “thinks he’s the best but isn’t”.
While the game will largely be decided between the two All-NBA hopefuls, there’s another matchup that will be a deciding factor, and that’s Fred VanVleet vs. Patrick Beverely. From a skill perspective, this matchup isn’t remotely close, as Fred VanVleet is the much better player, though, kudos to Beverley who has had a very good defensive year. These two will battle in a test of wills and tone—setting. Beverley will want to yap, scrap and engage Raptors players to the point of frustration, while Fred will have to do what he does best: keep a cool-head and ensure that his team knows who and what they’re up against. As always, it would be wise to bet on Fred in this one.
Check the details below and enjoy!
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam
Minnesota — Patrick Beverly, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt, Karl-Anthony Towns
Toronto — Malachi Flynn (hamstring – out)
Minnesota — Malik Beasley (ankle – out), Jaden McDaniels (ankle – out)