Sports Writing, Feb.19 (EFE). The Toronto Raptors beat Timber Wolves 81-86 in a bad game for Minnesota, which ended in a 0-11 draw for the Canadian team in the last three minutes of the match that ruled the third consecutive defeat by Ricky Rubio.
Rubio, who had a bad night, finished the game with seven points, including a hat-trick of one of the four he tried, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. His team-mate Karl Anthony Townes scored 19 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.
The best scorer in the match was Raptors striker Normal Powell, with 31 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, while Fred Vanfleet collected 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Raptors reached the Target Center in Minneapolis after winning two important matches against the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the three strongest teams in the Eastern Conference. On Thursday, without starting goalkeeper Kyle Lowry, one of the most important key players on the Canadian team.
For their part, Timber Wolves sank last in the Western Conference, and until Friday’s match, they had piled up 22 losses and only 7 wins. The last two games were losses to the Lakers and Pacers.
The only thing the wolves were doing for them was that Laurie was still off the field and the Minnesota team, which had the worst defense in the NBA, beat the Raptors at their makeshift home in Tampa last Sunday by 112-116.
The match started poorly for Rubio and so did Juancho Hernángomiz of Spain. In the first two minutes, the Raptors scored 7 points while Timber Wolves trailed 0. Nothing was going well for the NBA’s youngest team. Neither Karl Anthony Townes (KAT), the team’s star, nor Anthony Edwards, the number one in the 2020 draft, nor Rubio were able to score.
The first two points from the wolves had to be raised to the mark by Rubio from the free throw line. Even though the Minnesota team came a little closer on the scoreboard, it was clear that the team was not up and the defense was a drain. At the end of the first quarter, the Raptors were 13 points ahead, 15-28.
In the second quarter, wolves played a slightly larger role. Owner Beasley, whose points were key to the team, started making the baskets. Rubio’s ratio has also improved. Most of all, the defense began pressing Pascal Siakam and Diandre Pembre, two of Toronto’s most effective players.
Minnesota’s defensive efforts paid off and the Raptors scored only 17 points in the second quarter, 14 of them by Norman Powell, who made 3 out of the 6 trios he tried in that period. Meanwhile, Wolves scored 20 points despite Minneapolis players like KAT, who usually has a high ERA, shots that never hit the edge.
The break was reached by 35-45 in favor of the Raptors, 10 points that seemed a few given the poor Minneapolis game.
Timberwolves only went to the locker room 3 times out of 22 attempts, an extremely poor success of 13.6%, and 31.1% in all field shots. Meanwhile, the Raptors scored 6 of the 18 hat-trick (33.3%) and added 35.7% of the field goal.
After the break, the match looked like she would be judged by the Raptors in the third quarter. Fred Van Fleet, who had spent a humble night up to that point, started to fuel and pushed Toronto 16 points (41-57) in four minutes after the restart.
But after a request from Wolverhampton coach Ryan Saunders, Minnesota suddenly changed the chip. With Edwards and Jared Vanderbilt off the bench, the Minneapolis side supported Toronto’s 15-0 run and the game drew 57-57 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The quarter ended with a statement from Edwards: With 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the newbie accelerated from baseline ready to close with a dip. There was no point that Utah Watanabe tried to block his path. Edwards tied the ball to the hoop and buried the Toronto striker by accident that all he could face against the Minnesota force was taking a personal ball.
When the period ended, the scoreboard was 64-58 in Timberwolves thanks to points from players like Jake Layman or Jordan Mclaughlin who usually don’t have minutes.
Wolves managed to dominate the Raptors for most of the last 12 minutes of the match. But in the last three minutes, the team took another blow and was unable to score a single point while the Raptors scored 11, leaving the final score of 81-86 for Toronto. EFE