TORONTO,ON–After 13 miserable losses, the Raps beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-100 for their first win since January 7th.
The Raptors played well and were able to control most of the game. The Timberwolves made a run and cut the lead to three points midway though the fourth quarter, but the Raps, in uncharacteristic fashion, ended the game strongly.
Riddled by injuries, Triano thought this team would catch a break with the return of Leandro Barbosa, but that was not to be as Calderon and Trey Johnson manned the point guard position. Triano primarily used an 8-man rotation as Toronto was short-handed once again, but the result was slightly different than its been in recent memory.
The Raptors benefited from an entire team effort led by Bargnani’s 30 points and six rebounds. Bargs however, was not very efficient, shooting 10-26 while playing substandard defense and turning the ball over five times.
Amir Johnson showed a lot of hustle on both ends of the floor and was rewarded with a fantastic statistical night. He finished the game posting 19 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.
Johnson, who has been playing extremely well of late, is showing fans why Bryan Colangelo invested that five year-$34 million dollar contract in him. Meanwhile, the rest of the starting lineup was great as Derozan scored 20 points, Weems added 16 while Calderon scored six but added a whopping 19 assists..
The Raptors’ second unit benefited greatly from Trey Johnson’s 10 points and 3 boards. Trey showed a lot of energy in 18 minutes; expect Triano to reward Johnson with more playing time in the mere future.
Although the Raptors’ offense was clicking, the defense was once again under par. Kevin Love had a good night as he put up 20 points and 15 rebounds, but he never seemed to dominate the game as he has done so many times this season.
With Michael Beasley leaving the game in the second quarter, the Timberwolves received decent production from Corey Brewer, 15 points, Sebastian Telfair, 16 points and Darko Milicic’s 15 points and seven rebounds.
Bargnani, who defended Milicic for most of the night, did a poor job, making Darko look like an all-star at times.
If this was another team, the Raptors might have been looking at their 14th loss, but the weak Timberwolves limped out in the end.
The Raptors were without Jerryd Bayless, Linus Kleiza, Reggie Evans and the afore-mentioned Barbosa. Expect both Bayless and Barbosa to be ready for the Raptors’ next game against Milwaukee on Feb. 8.
Game Notes: Michael Beasley hobbled off the court in the second quarter after he landed on the foot of teammate Kevin Love. Beasley did not return in what medical staff called a left ankle injury.
Kevin Love was named an all-star by NBA commissioner David Stern during the game on Friday night. Love will be the replacement for the injured Yao Ming.
Photo Courtesy: NBA.com