Coming into last night’s game it was fully expected that Toronto would be going home with an addition to the win column. Minnesota lost Anthony Edwards to an ankle injury the previous night and had just endured a double overtime game so it was safe to say they were easy pickings. Minnesota showed tremendous effort all game long and even gave the Raptors a scare in the thor quarter but overall it was a sweat-free win for Toronto. The offense was once again extremely potent with contributions from everyone and this should be the blueprint for Toronto moving forward.
To open the game Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poetl worked in tandem to push Toronto out to an early lead, these two had 27 of the teams 32 in the first and once again it was their pick-and-roll productivity that aided them in their scoring endeavors. Fred VanVleet looked really great driving the basketball and pulled out an array of fakes to finish amongst the giants early on in this game. He also punished Minnesota in transition with his three point shooting. Jakob Poetl really bludgeoned the Timberwolves with some great touch inside and with his activity as a roll man. Despite an amazing offensive quarter in which Fred had 15 and Jakob had 12, Minnesota shot 52 percent from the field and kept it fairly close by constantly pressuring the rim and really enforcing their will there. All of their field goals were 2 pointers and most of them were in the paint and this was brought on by poor rotations early along with just some fantastic shotmaking as well.
The second quarter was the OG and Pascal show with them combining for 21 points, Pascal having 10 and OG having 11. OG was the perfect ancillary scorer in this quarter as most of his damage was assisted but his jumper looked great, and he had a ferocious double clutch dunk.
SENSATIONAL 🔥 https://t.co/ECAeSnmrLL pic.twitter.com/4seaKScc49— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 19, 2023
Pascal had no trouble getting to the rim against his primary defender in this quarter as he battered his way to layups and push shots, his touch was really on display. Toronto also gave up 32 points in this quarter and once again they were getting beaten on the inside and in transition by Minnesota.
The third quarter is where things got uncomfortable for Toronto as Minnesota took their first lead in the game after the offense stagnated. As this was happening though we saw Pascal take over the game and he was just relentless in his pursuit to will this team to victory like we have seen so many times before. He wheeled and dealed his way to 10 points in this quarter as he spun off defender after defender for layups and just overwhelmed them. Gary Trent Jr also provided a spark in this quarter when the Raptors needed it most and he hit some really tough shots in order to do this along with showing some great activity on defense.
Toronto went into the 4th with a 9 point lead after they closed the third very strongly and from this point on they never looked back. Anytime Minnesota tried to get something going Toronto had an answer and they never let the lead dwindle down again. This game saw 6 Raptors in double figures and they all seemed to go on scoring outbursts at different crucial times throughout the game which is the mark of a truly talented team. Toronto faces Milwaukee tonight on the second leg of a back to back and they will need this kind of production if they hope to knock off the top team in the east.
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