Toronto Raptors Feast on Minnesota Timberwolves, 124-110

Dec 8, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) defends during the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 124-110. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 8, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) defends during the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 124-110. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Raptors (15-7) surge in the second half during Lowry-time to feast on the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-16) for a 124-110 victory.

VS.
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Raptors22372936124
Timberwolves32273021110

Thoughts and Observations

  • The Toronto Raptors starters continue to dig themselves a hole in the first quarter. I’ve mentioned before that the starting lineup isn’t what it appears to be, but Dwane Casey is adament on his rotation. The bench wasn’t able to dig them out of the hole until the half.
  • Jonas Valanciunas takes too many dribbles when he posts up. Instead of hitting his defender with a quick move after a few dribbles he always allows the defense to get set before he takes any action. His post game still needs work.
  • This game and the Cavs game has shown that defensive rebounding is a huge problem for the Raptors and it’s both a systemic and personnel issue. The Raptors have no great rebounders outside of JV (last year they had

    Bismack Biyombo

    ) and the Raptors are apt to play small where lineups like Lowry-CoJo-DeRozan-Carroll-JV are common place.

    More from Tip of the Tower

  • Wing post ups continues to be a problem for the Raptors even though it isn’t LeBron James. DeMarre Carroll isn’t a stout post defender and the Raptors don’t really have anyone else to stop wings from bullying defenders down low.
  • Patrick Patterson is basically a second point guard when he’s on the court. He may not handle the ball frequently but he’s constantly telling people where to go, when to cut, and will break plays if he sees an exploitable advantage. You don’t really see Basketball IQ at that level from the four-spot.
  • Kodak sponsors Reggie Miller, right? Because the Kodak moment line is mad cheesy.
  • Kyle Lowryand Valanciunas were sensational for the Raptors. Lowry did all he could to will the Raptors to a victory and JV has finally posted a respectable line of 20 and 10 in 28 minutes.
  • The Raptors are terrible pick and roll defenders and that’s mostly due to Valanciunas’ very limited mobility and DeMar DeRozan‘s inability to get over screens. The Wolves plan of attack was to kill JV (and DeRozan) in the pick and roll tonight, which lead to Zach Lavine’s 29 points.
  • The lowest of lowkey: the Raps shot 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from three-point range, led by Lowry (5-of-7) and Carroll (3-of-6).

    DeRozan remains a human highlight reel.

    RBX (Raptors Bandwagon Exchange)

    • Buy: Carroll is continuing to scorch from downtown shooting 3-of-6 tonight, but only you, me and Dupree are talking about it. Keep soaking up that stock, friends.
    • Sell: Hold that JV stock for one more game but be ready to sell it. JV has struggled for a couple of games, but with Boston’s terrible defensive rebounding on the horizon Valanciunas should post gargantuan numbers.

    Three Stars of the Night

    1. Kyle Lowry: 25 points, 11 assists and a steal, all while shooting 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Isn’t Lowry supposed to be declining? I guess not.
    2. Zach LaVine: I love that LaVine has turned the corner in his young career. He led the Timberwolves in scoring with 29, shooting 3-of-8 from range and 60 percent from the field. Running the pick and roll is his forte and with DeRozan and JV guarding it he had a field day. LaVine also chipped in six assists, rounding out a brilliant offensive display.
    3. Jonas Valanciunas: JV may not be able to guard the pick and roll effectively but he can absolutely score. Gorgui Dieng is secretly a liability on defence and it showed, as JV was able to score 20 points while flashing every move in his arsenal from his mid range to his hook shot. JV also cleaned the glass effectively, racking up 10 rebounds in the process.

    Statline of the Night

    27-8-5, 12-of-13 FT

    This was probably DeRozan’s worst offensive game from a sheer efficiency standpoint but he still had an impact. It felt like he missed every shot, but he was able to carve the lane to draw enough fouls to make his scoring somewhat viable. If you can’t score you need to find other ways to contribute and DeRozan’s eight rebounds were evidence of that.

    What’s Next

    The Raptors take a one day field trip to Boston to play the Celtics who are somehow perpetually injured. Isaiah Thomas is out and that’s a mighty blow for a team that is looking to get their season back on track. Without Thomas’ scoring the Celtics will be hard pressed to keep up with the Raptors All-Star backcourt.

    Next: Toronto Raptors Quarterly Awards

    What did you think of the Raptors 124-110 victory over the Timberwolves? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.