For a half, the Wolves offense kept up with the Toronto Raptors, but in the second half, the Raps turned up their excellent defense, and the Wolves had no answers as Toronto ultimately cruised to a 122-112 win at Target Center.
The first half was one of the more enjoyable we’ve seen in a while. The Wolves were hot from three early, in particular Jarrett Culver, who made four of his first six attempts from downtown. Andrew Wiggins was very active in the first half, finishing the frame with 15 points and seven assists, on his way to his first career triple double, on which more later.
Things were not quite as rosy on the other end of the floor, where the Raptors seemed to have a red carpet to the rim (or an Aurora Green carpet, as Jon Krawczynski corrected me), and they found little deterrence when they got there. Still, the Wolves took a 62-58 lead into halftime.
That would prove to be the high water mark for the Wolves tonight, however, as they came out in the third quarter cold, and the Raptors took advantage with a series of drive-and-kick threes that propelled them into a lead they would not relinquish. In particular Raps guards Fred Van Vleet and Kyle Lowry stole the show, combining to go 12-16 from three on the night, and pouring in 57 combined points. Norman Powell added 20 for the Raps as the Wolves could not stop their perimeter scorers either at the arc or on the drive. It was not a strong defensive performance for the Wolves who allowed the Raptors to shoot 52 percent from the field.
The Raptors thrived in the second half off forcing Wolves turnovers and turning them into points. They turned 10 Wolves second half turnovers into 19 points as they stretched their lead up to 20 in the fourth quarter.
The story for the Wolves is Andrew Wiggins getting the first triple double of his career. He finished with 18 points, 11 assists and ten boards. He was very active in the early going, attacking with the ball and showing energy without it. He started the game hot, making his first four shots, but went 2-10 after that. He scored only three points in the second half on 1-7 shooting. Kudos to him for the milestone, but given the way the game went, it didn’t feel that impactful.
This was the Wolves fifth straight loss. Up next are the Nuggets at home on Monday night.
- Jarrett Culver had a career high 26 points on 8-16 as he continues his roll. Much like Wiggins, he did a lot of his damage early, with 16 first half points. He kind of fell in love with his three point shot after making 4-6 early, and missed his last four. Still, another impressive scoring performance from the rookie.
- Karl-Anthony Towns did not have a good game. He struggled shooting it and only finished with 12 points. His timing on rebounds seems off after his layoff, and he never had his signature stretch where he takes over.
- The Wolves had 33 assists on 38 baskets, which is a) impressive, and b) feels a bit like some good home official scoring.
- The Wolves are not a good team.