Raptors 112 – Timberwolves 105: Some good things & some other stuff


The Toronto Raptors enjoyed a successful return to the Air Canada Centre last night, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 112 – 105. While I anticipated seeing the starting five get a decent run (the season is just around the corner), that hope was trashed early, when DeMar DeRozan wasn’t introduced. I thought he might address the crowd, and appeared to be ready to do so, but it didn’t happen.

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[20-second timeout: this morning’s trade proposal involving DD and the Bulls had been in gestation for a few days. I decided to publish when DD sat the entire game. I have to wonder, though I may be overthinking, that he was held out because of an imminent trade.]

Terrence Ross got the start instead, and played well if you overlook the fact he missed all six shots he tried. His defense was sound, and needed to be, as he was covering Zach LaVine. TRoss even grabbed some boards.

Oct 12, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors forward Luis Scola (4) at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Timberwolves 112-107. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

All this is preamble…the game story was Kyle Lowry, who had every element of his offensive toolkit on display. He torched the T’Wolves for 40 points in only 28 minutes, hitting 6 3-balls, and driving to the basket with touch.

You may recall I had created a list of things to watch for. One of them was Anthony Bennett’s defense. Coach Dwane Casey seems to want to shine Anthony up, but the bulky power forward is not ready in my book. Anthony still doesn’t present in a proper defensive stance, and is in catch-up mode too often.

James Johnson played only 5+ minutes, so I still have no idea what the Raptors are planning to do with him.

Bruno Caboclo was embarrassed by a ball fake from wily veteran Tayshaun Prince. Once Bruno had left his feet, Prince danced around him for an uncontested slam. That wasn’t the only time Bruno was a spectator, and he “led” the Raptors with 4 tunovers. Live long and prosper in the 905, Bruno. Minnesota’s Andre Miller, another evergreen player, showed the kids on several occasions why he’s still around.

Cory Joseph had a fine outing, showing excellent footwork and ballhandling. He knows when to create his shot, and when to pass, and appears equally happy doing either.

Luis Scola looked very comfortable, unlike Patrick Patterson, and the Argentine veteran would be my choice to start at Power Forward in Game 1.

Bismack Biyombo took two shots, neither of were close to dropping, from just under the basket, and made 3 of 10 free throws. I’d give him the Worst Hands Ever award, but I’d be afraid he’d drop it. The man can defend.

For the T’Wolves, Andrew Wiggins led with 21 points, including the only 2 long balls he tried. Like Kyle, he looks ready to play for real. They desperately need point guard Ricky Rubio back, because Lorenzo Brown as a starter is a bad idea.

In sum, I didn’t learn as much as I hoped, but there’s still lots of time. The Raptors are in Ottawa tomorrow night to face the Wolves once again.

Putbacks: The ACC has a monstrous new overhead scoreboard, with scary-good images. If it offered 3-D capability, we wouldn’t need to look at the floor…take out Kyle’s 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, and the Raptors shot a ghastly 3 for 16.

Next: Should Patrick Patterson start at power forward?

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