Wolves vs. Raptors
The Timberwolves are 0-1 against Toronto this season, last facing the Canadian team on March 18. Kevin Martin (who will not play tonight) led the Wolves with 37 points and 50 percent shooting that night, followed by Chase Budinger who added 19.
Eyes will look to Budinger again. Since the short-staffed Wolves have been desperate for players to dress, Budinger has racked up the minutes--and the points. The forward has been averaging 15.1 points per game since mid-March, and some perimeter shooting from him would be an advantage for Wednesday.
Toronto native Andrew Wiggins will have another chance against his hometown team, and hopefully the home court energy will propel a big performance. Wiggins, who has been playing 40+ minutes per game as of late, scored 15 points against the Raptors the first time. The rookie got in early foul trouble that game, which is something he'll work to avoid tonight.
Although Toronto has already clinched a playoff spot, tonight's game will not be a wash. The Eastern Conference team is just one game back from the third seed and 3.5 games from the second. As Timberwolves reporter Kyle Ratke points out for us, each win could be the difference between home-court advantage in the second round of the playoffs.
Don't expect this team to just roll over.
It's safe to say all eyes will be on LaVine and his ability to handle DeRozan. DeRozan is currently averaging 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, and he is fresh off a career night. The shooting guard tallied an incredible 42 points (almost half the team's total) against Houston Monday night, and you can bet he's coming into the Target Center plenty fired up.
In the teams' last meeting, DeRozan scored 21 points... 12 of which were free throws. LaVine scored only five points on 2-for-6 shooting in that game, but he has been playing significantly more minutes since then. The rookie will need to not only keep DeRozan from excessive shooting, but avoiding fouls will be key as well.
DeRozan and LaVine both put up higher-than-average numbers in March, so Wednesday promises to be an interesting match-up.
The Raptors will be without Kyle Lowry (back).
The injury-plagued Wolves are hoping to get Anthony Bennett (ankle) back on the floor tonight; he is listed as probable. Kevin Martin (hamstring) is questionable. Kevin Garnett (knee) and Ricky Rubio (ankle) are doubtful. Gorgui Dieng (concussion-like symptoms), Shabazz Muhammad (finger), Gary Neal (ankle) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle) are out.