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Timberwolves Fall to Raptors 104-97

The Wolves finish 0-2 at the Target Center in the preseason, losing to the Toronto Raptors tonight.

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It may not have been televised at the Target Center, but 84 combined free throws and 5 delay-of-game calls made tonight's 104-97 loss by the Timberwolves to the Toronto Raptors a long one.

"We aren't the San Antonio Spurs and we aren't Miami," Wolves head coach Rick Adelman said following the game. "We act like we have plenty of time. It was disappointing the way we approached the game to start with.".

While Rick Adelman placed the blame on the team as a whole, it was the guards that struggled the most on the offensive end. The combination of Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea combined for a 2-21 shooting on the night, with Barea hitting both field goals (though still finishing 2-10 from the field).

The first quarter kept a familiar preseason trend going for the Wolves. Starting the quarter off shooting 1-9, they struggled to find baskets inside on the formidable defensive frontcourt of Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson. Rudy Gay was extremely aggressive for the Raptors, accumulating 9 points and 5 rebounds in the quarter, but also going 4/8 from the free throw line. He would only play in the first quarter.

It was a good first half for Kevin Love, who got 5 free throw attempts right away in the first quarter,  going 6/7 as the half concluded. He was active on the boards early, grabbing 8 of them in the first half, including a sequence where  he attempted and missed three putbacks, finally able to score on the fourth. He finished the half with 16 points on 5/12 shooting.

Despite the rough start shooting the ball, Toronto's inability to hit their free throws and keep Love off the line kept the Wolves in the game early, and the worst the Wolves saw in the quarter was a 7-point deficit. As the quarter went on, the offensive flow improved dramatically, and the quarter was a competitive one for the most part.

The half as a whole was a competitive one, so competitive that it ended in a 52-52 tie.

The Raptors only brought back Valanciunas from their starting group to open the second half, resting the rest of their starters the same way the Wolves did for Love and Rubio in Sioux Falls. The Wolves came out with the same starting lineup and attempted to capitalize on Toronto's lineup change, but struggled to do so. The Wolves were only able end the third quarter with a two point lead.

The remainder of starters for both teams exited near the end of the third quarter and didn't return. The Raptors bench was able to keep up with the Wolves starters in the third enough, and in the fourth quarter they outscored Minnesota's bench 25-16, giving them a comfortable victory.

Love finished with the best game for Minnesota, scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds on the night. Pekovic only grabbed 2 rebounds, but did shoot 5-7 from the field to finish with 11 points. The combination of Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanviunas inside gave Pekovic problems on the glass, but didn't seem to bother him when he had the ball in his hands.

Austin Daye had a good fourth quarter, and led all Raptors in scoring with 12 points on 3-4 shooting from the field, 2-3 shooting from beyond the arc, and 4-4 shooting from the charity stripe.

"I know it's exhibition season and everything else, but we're trying to get better," Adelman said. "We can't get better if we don't go out with better effort than we've shown.

A few final notes:

  • Kevin Martin did end up sitting the game, despite being introduced at the start of the game.
  • Shabazz Muhammad only played the fourth quarter, and showed the same strengths and weaknesses he's displayed throughout the preseason. He's crashing the boards and finishing well inside, but still is struggling with his jumper.
  • A minor earthquake occurred in the third quarter when Toronto's Quincy Acy fell for a Nikola Pekovic pump fake. The fake brought Acy in the air and right on top of Pekovic, crashing them both to the ground.
  • Towards the end of the second quarter, Kevin Love appeared to sustain some sort of injury, and spoke to head athletic trainer Greg Farnam when the second quarter buzzer sounded. Even the conversation itself seemed pretty light-hearted, and Love was back out on the floor to start the second half.
  • Minnesota is off now, as far as games go, until a Sunday, October 20 against Boston. It will be shown on NBA TV and will be played in Montreal, QC.