Wolves can’t solve Raptors
MINNEAPOLIS — Against a deeper, more athletic and seeming better-motivated Toronto team, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ playoff hopes continued to fade after the Raptors’ 111-104 victory Sunday night at Target Center.
With guard Kyle Lowry getting a triple double (20 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists), with six Raptors scoring 12 or more points, with Toronto hitting on 14 of 24 3-pointers — many of them uncontested — Toronto continued its mastery of the Wolves with its sixth straight victory over Minnesota and its 18th in the last 19 games.
The Timberwolves got 26 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists from forward Kevin Love. But shaky team defense doomed the Wolves (31-31) to their second loss in three games, both at home.
Toronto got 25 points from guard DeMar DeRozan and 15 each from forward Terrence Ross, forward Amir Johnson forward Steve Novak, who came off the bench to hit 5 of 6 3-pointers.
The Raptors (35-26) shot 48.7 percent overall and better than 58 percent on 3-pointers while winning its third straight game and its sixth in seven.
Wolves guard Kevin Martin scored 20 points. Center Nikola Pekovic and forward Corey Brewer added 17 each.
Down 90-80, the Wolves got within 91-93 on Love’s basket with 5:07 left. But Lowry answered with a 3-pointer started an 8-4 burst to take back control of the game.
An entertaining, back-and-forth first quarter ended with the game tied at 33 after Toronto scored the final five points of the quarter.
It was an omen. Against a Wolves lineup of mainly backups, the Raptors scored the first 13 points of the second quarter — pushing the overall run to 18-0 — to take a 46-33 lead on guard Greivis Vasquez’s 3-pointer with 8:47 left in the half.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman was forced to reinsert Love and Brewer into the lineup, and the Wolves took their turn. Love had a basket and five assists and Pekovic had six points in a 17-2 run that gave the Wolves a 50-48 lead on forward Dante Cunningham’s layup with 2:14 left. Toronto came back to claim a 53-52 halftime lead.
Toronto had a 7-0 run to start the third quarter to go up 60-52 only to have the Wolves come back to tie it on two Love free throws. But Lowry had six points in a 13-8 run to end the quarter that put Toronto up 83-76 to start the fourth.
Notes: Wolves F Kevin Love’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter Sunday — his third of the game — gave him 143 for the season. Love surpassed Rashad McCants (142 in 2007-08) for the most in a single season in franchise history. ... Toronto F Patrick Patterson, one of the Raptors’ top reserves, sustained an ulnar collateral sprain in his right (shooting ) elbow Friday against Sacramento. He missed Sunday’s game and will be lost for seven to 10 days, according to Toronto coach Dwane Casey. ... Backup Wolves G A.J. Price missed the game due to illness. ... Two of Toronto G Kyle Lowry’s biggest fans are Wolves G Kevin Martin and Minnesota coach Rick Adelman, both of whom worked with Lowry in Houston. “He has really raised his game this year,” Martin said. “He’s put himself in the top 10 point guards in the league.” ... Wolves backup C Ronny Turiaf missed his eighth game with a bone bruise on his right knee. He is scheduled to be re-examined this week, with the hopes of returning to practice.