Andrew Wiggins! Karl-Anthony Towns! Lance to make ’em dance! It’s the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they’re hosting the Toronto Raptors ahead of the Raptors getting some much needed rest. I made like 12 typos writing out that intro, so I’m either way too low on sleep (correct) or need to just drop the intro and get on with the updates. I’ll opt for the latter, because Zach Harper and I went deep on the Wolves in the pre-game, and not a lot has changed since.
But hey, maybe a third win in a row here, yeah?
The game tips off at 8 on Sportsnet One and TSN 1050. You can check out the full game preview here.
Other than a pair of 905ers, the Raptors have a chance at a #FullSquad, a rarity over the course of this season. I believe it’s only happened once all year, and DeMar DeRozan aggravated his injury in that Orlando game. So, if Patrick Patterson returns here, expect doom and terror to follow, because why would the Raptors be allowed to be at full strength? With three days off coming up, benching Patterson one more game would be justified, but if he can go, he can go. If he can’t, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, and however many other bodies will fill the void. The stability a Patterson return will bring should be nice, especially with a few full practice days upcoming to get some additional work in.
UPDATE: Patterson is out. It makes sense to me, given the time off coming up, to just give him the extra time. No word who starts yet, but it’ll be Siakam or Nogueira, with Siakam getting the edge due to inertia.
UPDATE II: Siakam starts.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph, Fred VanVleet
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell
SF: DeMarre Carroll, Terrence Ross
PF: Pascal Siakam, Jared Sullinger
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl
ASSIGNED: Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright
OUT: Patrick Patterson
Lance Stephenson officially signed his 10-day contract with Minnesota today, so it seems as if he’ll be ready to go by tip-off. That would mean less Brandon Rush, though it would be a surprise if Tom Thibodeau opted to start Sephenson out of the gate. He was Born Ready, though, so it’s tough to put anything by Stephenson. In any case, he’ll probably see a few minutes to get acclimated, but the Wolves’ rotation will mostly look like it has the last few games.
Said rotation has sadly not included Zach LaVine, who has a torn ACL, Nikole Pekovic, who’s been out forever, Adreian Payne, who is suffering from thrombocytopenia, and Kris Dunn, who’s missed three games with a hand injury. Dunn was available if disaster struck Monday and practiced Tuesday, but he’s questionable for this one. Should Dunn go, he’d be fighting with Tyus Jones for backup point guard minutes and with Stephenson for some minutes off the ball.
However it shakes out, the Wolves have precious few lineups that have played significant minutes together without LaVine. The current and presumed starters have done quite well, though, sot the Raptors will need to come out of the gate strong in each half.
UPDATE: The Wolves confirmed that Stephenson is active and didn’t mention Dunn with the inactives, so assume both are available. (Kyle Ratke reports that Thibodeau said he is “unsure” if Dunn will be used.)
PG: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, Tyus Jones
SG: Brandon Rush, Lance Stephenson
SF: Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad
PF: Gorgui Dieng, Nemanja Bjelica
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill
OUT: Zach LaVine, Nikola Pekovic, Adreian Payne
- Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo remain with Raptors 905, who have a road game Thursday before returning home. At that point, the pair may reconnect with the parent club, but they’ll definitely be down with the team for Saturday’s home game. It’s possible a third name gets assigned, too, given everyone is in Toronto and the Raptors have three days off.
- Good read here from my son William Lou.
The Raptors have held around 3.5-point favorites all day, and the over-under has been steady at 212. There just may not be a lot of action on this game, or the original lines were just really sharp. It will be interesting to see if Dunn or Patterson edge the line, but 3.5 is a tough line to budge, given the marginal value swing going to three or four presents.