Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 109, Timberwolves 115

Toronto 109 Final
Box Score
115 Minnesota

C+
S. Ibaka33 MIN, 13 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 6-11 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 0 +/-

Didn’t play particularly well in the first half but stuck all of his jumpers. Played a little better in the second half but started missing. Simply has to help more on the glass than this. Back-to-backs continue to not be his thing.

C-
O. Anunoby18 MIN, 7 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

Has hit a bit of a rookie wall or mental fatigue or whatever you want to call it of late. Struggled with Wiggins, hit some shots, continues to be a non-factor on the glass. Obviously still way more positives than negatives with him, but it’s been a tough few games.

Inc
J. Valanciunas11 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

The whistle really wasn’t in his favor the first three quarters, with four fouls in four minutes. It’s really hard to grade a guy in a spot like that. On the one hand, he wasn’t out there much to do a lot. On the other, his absence was pronounced, especially on the glass. Giving him an incomplete because how you feel about this depends entirely on how you feel about the whistle he got.

A+
K. Lowry34 MIN, 40 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 14-25 FG, 6-11 3FG, 6-7 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 5 +/-

Either wants his $200K All-Star bonus or is still insulted that the Wolves thought Top-Tier Teague should be their free agent priority. Ended up 3 points shy of a career-high and did so using just 28 possessions while Teague had next to nothing on the other end. That’s incredibly efficient. Full KLOE game.

B
D. DeRozan34 MIN, 20 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 7-17 FG, 2-5 3FG, 4-4 FT, 1 BLK, 6 TO, -3 +/-

Thought he did a nice job on Wiggins defensively in the second half, possibly because Wiggins’ game is so similar to DeRozan’s earlier game. It hasn’t been that rare lately for DeRozan to step up on defense, which is nice. A few of the shots down the stretch were questionable (he had zero second-half assists) and he struggled with turnovers most of the night, so his 20 points came on 24 possessions. Was fine, just not the level he’s been on most of the year.

A-
D. Wright29 MIN, 12 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 3-8 FG, 0-2 3FG, 6-6 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-

Was the only bench player that had a real positive impact (despite the +/-), getting into the teeth of Minnesota’s defense and basically creating everything for the second unit. Also had a solid defensive night, got to the line, and was the team’s leading rebounder.

C
J. Poeltl22 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -12 +/-

Probably didn’t deserve the worst plus-minus on the team, and some of the rebounding issue when he was out there is that nobody is picking up for him when he helps at the rim or on a drive. Still, the second half was not kind to him and – you won’t believe this – neither was the whistle.

D+
P. Siakam18 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -5 +/-

Marred in probably his worst stretch of the season, he really, really needs to find a way to help more on the glass. He has that in him, and while I know it takes away from the transition leak-outs, it’s a huge weakness for the team right now that requires addressing. Nice passing chemistry with Poeltl continues. Also had trouble with the whistle.

D
C. Miles15 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-7 FG, 1-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -5 +/-

3-of-14 overall and 2-of-10 on threes the last two games, and where he brought a little more juice against San Antonio, that wasn’t quite the case here. He did have a couple of nice defensive plays, but it wasn’t the norm. Tough one. Shooters bounce back.

B
F. VanVleet14 MIN, 8 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-2 FG, 1-1 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

Nice to see him back out there, and he had a nice attack out of the corner and got to the line in short minutes after an early turnover. Appears to be safely back ahead of Powell in the rotation.

C
L. Nogueira11 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

Was called on to bridge the gap between Valanciunas and Poeltl at the start of each half and was fine, if unspectacular. Maybe over-passed once, offered some rim protection, and like with Poeltl, didn’t have someone pick up behind him on the glass. Lowry was pretty annoyed with him at one point.

B+
Dwane Casey

I thought he did a fine job managing around foul trouble, changing up the scheme to slow Wiggins down in the second half, and demanding reviews on just about everything down the stretch. This felt like a Casey Tech game, though I’m not really sure what more he could have done here to try to alert the officials to, uh, perceived discrepancies, we’ll call them. Thought he closed with the right group, too.

Things We Saw

  1. Even on the second night of a back-to-back, this one has to hurt. The Wolves were down two key players, the Raptors nearly had control a number of times, the refs were a whole thing (42-21 FTA, necessary context caveats apply), Lowry dropped 40, the offense put up 115.6 O-Rating, and the win was right there for a lot of this one. Missed opportunity. At the same time, given how wonky the game was and how tough a time they had figuring out the whistle, there may not be a ton to extrapolate here.
  2. 1st half: The Raptors started out looking like a team on the second night of a back-to-back. Valanciunas had foul trouble, Ibaka looked like Iback-to-backa, and DeRozan’s offense was off. That didn’t matter once Lowry went KLOE, but a tough DeRozan-and-bench stretch saw Minnesota take advantage on the offensive glass and close the first on a 9-3 run. The bench did a nice job in the second, with Wright penetrating and the unit scoring a little more than they usually do. Getting Minnesota into the bonus helped, too, and Towns getting in foul trouble opened up the offensive glass the other way. Toronto shot eight free-throws in the quarter, helping them hang 34 in total for an eight-point halftime lead.
  3. 2nd half: The Raptors looked just as SEGABABA to start the third, with Towns having his way drawing fouls ad nauseam. And when I say ad nauseam, I mean it – I ate too much Korean fried chicken and started to not feel well. Anyway, Minnesota went on an 11-0 run thanks in part to a foul disparity. The whole quarter had a big free-throw gap (16-5, 11-4 in fouls), a combination of Towns playing well, the Raptors’ defense looking lethargic, and a weird whistle (and yes, it’s rare I point this out and feel any kind of way about it). Toronto responded with a 10-0 run but lost the quarter handily, entering the fourth down four.
  4. 4th quarter: The fourth was messy, too. By the time the Raptors got to Wright-and-starters, they were stuck 10. A prompt 11-0 run made it a close-out scenario, because Lowry and Wright are quite good and the team’s defense on Wiggins in the second half (hey, DeRozan) was much improved. Wiggins and Towns both hit contested threes, and then Wiggins came up with a huge offensive rebound (make it 32 surrendered over the last two games) to seal it.
  5. Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford both sat out hurt on fairly short notice and Towns dealt with early foul trouble, which meant a heavy offensive load shifted to Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins, who averages more points against the Raptors than all but two other teams, was tremendous, scoring 22 on just 15 possessions in the first half. The Raptors did a better job in the second half, so he “only” finished with 29, including a big three late. Wiggins is still just 22. How some people have given up on him already is beyond me.

Note: I know most of you are upset about the officiating. Please discuss it respectfully in the comments. I would like to not have to spend my Sunday morning cleaning up a comments section again. We’re all in this together.

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