Gameday: Raptors @ Timberwolves, April 3

Both teams are on the second night of a back to back.

The race to the record marches on. That is, the record for most consecutive losses in franchise history. Toronto is currently at 14, set up against the Washington Wizards to potentially tie the record. And if that happens, it would be Pascal Siakam and the Indiana Pacers who could give Toronto its 18th in a row, setting the new record.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The Raptors actually beat the Timberwolves the last time they played, which was to open the season. Minnesota was without Jaden McDaniels who is now back. Don’t be fooled by Toronto’s McDaniels, Jaden is terrific. Just a star in the making on both sides. And the Raptors … had Gradey Dick play 2 minutes 7 seconds, and he might be the only player in Toronto’s rotation tonight who was in it to start the season. Then again, Gary Trent jr. might come back from injury, and he came off the bench against Minnesota.

Minnesota is a defensive powerhouse that can get hot on offense. That’s not a good matchup for Toronto.

Raptors scope: 23-52, 12th in East | Offensive Rating: 24th (112.2) | Defensive Rating: 25th (118.0)

Guys are mostly trying hard! The teams have inverse records, which is cool. The Raptors just don’t have the talent right now to compete. Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett came back to great success in their last game, as both scored well, shot well, and organized the offense well (which is maybe the most important thing of all). But the defense isn’t coming around at all, as the Lakers just found anything over the top that they wanted. Toronto doesn’t have the size at the point of attack to deter much, and it doesn’t have the size from wings pinching in to tag to deter much, so teams can really just form layup lines if they want. LeBron James could have scored 60 if he felt like it, and Anthony Edwards is more likely to feel like it than James was.

Quickley and Barrett are figuring out how to work in Toronto’s offense, with new roles. That matters. Steps forward. Wins and losses aren’t really the most important thing right now.

T-Wolves scope: 52-23, 2nd in West | Offensive Rating: 18th (114.6) | Defensive Rating: 15th (108.2)

Minnesota already has its second highest win total for a season in franchise history, only trailing the 2003-04 squad led by MVP Kevin Garnett. That’s also the only team that has won a playoff series, taking their run to the Western Conference Finals.

They’re just a great team with perhaps the best defense in basketball. They’re huge and mobile and incredibly well coached. There’s stars up and down the depth chart, especially in the front court. Which, that’s where Toronto’s thinnest. So. This could get ugly.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 8pm EDT | TV: TSN 1/4 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Raptors Lineup

Update: RJ Barrett and Kelly Olynyk are out with rest. So. Bruce Brown is doubtful. Oh my.

PG: Immanuel Quickley, Javon Freeman-Liberty

SG: Gradey Dick, Kobi Simmons

SF: Jordan Nwora, Garrett Temple

PF: Jalen McDaniels

C: Mouhamadou Gueye, Malik Williams

Timberwolves Lineup

Mike Conley and Karl Anthony-Towns are out.

PG: Jordan McLaughlin

SG: Anthony Edwards, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Shake Milton

SF: Jaden McDaniels, Leonard Miller, Troy Brown jr.

PF: Kyle Anderson

C: Rudy Gobert, Naz Reid

The Line

We are going beyond two touchdowns now. Minnesota is favoured by 15.5 points. A 14 game losing streak on the road against a West contender will do those sort of things.