The Raptors will not have much time to dwell on this loss as they are back at it again this evening against the Timberwolves at the ACC.
Here are an abbreviated version of the three keys to the game:
1. Take Advantage of Love's Absence:
The Timberwolves All-Star power forward will be out for the next few weeks after injuring himself allegedly doing knuckle pushing - yes, knuckle pushups. This means that the less experienced Derrick Williams will be staring in his place and this is something the Raptors can take full advantage of.
Andrea Bargnani will have a significant height advantage against Williams and should look to exploit it at every opportunity. Bargnani had an efficient 6 of 12 shooting night against the Nets, but took a backseat to DeRozan and Lowry. Look for him to be very aggressive from the outset against the T'Wolves.
2. Lock Down Barea:
I know that it sounds silly for this to be a key when playing a team that possesses other offensive weapons like Andre Kirilenko and Brandon Roy, but J.J Barea is a serious threat - perhaps their biggest with both Rubio and Love out - offensively.
In their first and only game of the season against the Kings, Barea came off of the bench to score 21 points in 28 minutes and essentially lead the team to a victory. If the Dinos are going to come away with a win tonight, stopping Barea is going to have to be a priority. This may mean more minutes for John Lucas III at that backup point guard spot.
3. Overcome the Fatigue:
The Raptors are facing their first back-to-back of the season, while the Timberwolves are nice and rested, having only played one game which came back on Friday night.
This will be an interesting test to see how the team will respond in back-to-back situations. thus far, their energy level has been a big factor in how well they play. If they can keep it up, a win against a short-handed 'Wolves squad is likely, if not, things could get ugly at the ACC.