The Raptors first punch and Siakam’s second, VanVleet puts the Timberwolves away
Behind the excellent performance of one or two punches from Toronto Fred VanVleet And Pascal Siakamthe wild birds came out with 122-107 win against stenographer Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday Night Band.
Van Fleet had 28 points and seven assists in the game, while Seacam had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
It wasn’t often that the two had amazing matches in unison during the 2022-23 campaign. Saturday’s game marked the 13th time in their 52 games together that they have both topped by more than 20 points, while their combined 55 tied for the fifth-most they’ve scored together this season.
“I think we’re at the point where we’re going to get the best looks for the other team and get the most attention,” VanVleet said after the game, referring to how they both had to overcome the physicality of the Timberwolves and find the mismatch.
“We have to keep working on those things and, again, just trying to get the readings right for this team. And I thought we did a good job that night.”
VanVleet was able to take the night for the Raptors, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 in the first quarter.
Despite the hot start, the Raptors defense was unable to hold off the Timberwolves, who were on the second night of a consecutive game and without their star player entirely in Anthony Edwards, after being sidelined by a tip-up. with an ankle injury.
Siakam was the ultimate difference-maker for the Raptors, as he was able to create some separation with a run in a game that head coach Nick Nurse called “low energy.”
The turning point seemed to come after a poster was doused next to it Naz Red At the 3:39 mark in the third quarter. The backup center eventually led the way for the Timberwolves with 22 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with the slam dunk.
Siakam responded by scoring nine points to end the third quarter, then another four in the fourth, eventually helping the Raptors to a double-digit lead that would swell to 19.
Nurse highlighted the “versatility in what Siakam does”, with his ability to reach the basket, use his patented spin moves, create chances through his fade, attacking glass shatters, and also take advantage of transition opportunities.
“This, to me, is his recipe for a good night,” said the nurse.
To go along with the Raptors’ one-and-two punch, for the second straight game all five Toronto players were able to score in double digits,
The team’s success was highlighted by a flurry of dunks from OG Anunoby’s Scotty Barnes.
Gary Trent Jr He also provided a spark off the bench, as the sixth man scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while being instrumental on defense with five steals.
Another prominent place was in the second unit Chris Boucher.
After scoring 12 points in the first quarter on 6-of-6 shooting, Jacob Boeltel He found himself in trouble. However, the Raptors were able to lean on the 6-foot-9 Boucher, who put up a solid fight against the 7-foot-1 Rudy Goubert.
“It was a great fight. It showed me a side of my game that I had,” Boucher said.
Saturday was the Raptors’ third straight win in this stretch at home at Scotiabank Arena after recently won the Denver Nuggets And Oklahoma City Thunder. It improved them to 35-36, good enough to retain the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference, while marking the fourth time this season that they’ve been able to put together a three-game winning streak.
“I think we needed that to find some joy among the team,” Boucher said. “It helps us see what we can do.”
If the Raptors finish their season, the goal is to be among the top six teams in the East. But with 11 games to go, and with the Raptors five games behind that rating, it feels like a huge undertaking. Instead, their eyes seem intent on maintaining their position for a shot at the course of play.
If the Raptors secure the seventh or eighth seed, they will only need to win one game in play to enter the playoffs and start a seven-game series. As the ninth or tenth seed, they would need to win two games – but if they lost their first match in this scenario, they would be kicked out in a do-or-die fashion.
They will look to continue their momentum on Sunday night on the road, where they will take on the best team in the East at Milwaukee Bucks On the second night from noon to noon.
“We had our work cut out for us, but I love where we were,” VanVleet said. “We’ve been very focused, you know, over the last couple of weeks and we need to maintain that.”