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Timberwolves struggle to slow Toronto in 122-107 road loss

As the Timberwolves plod on without Anthony Edwards for an indefinite amount of time, generating an offense is likely to be a problem for them.

But slowing Toronto at the other end of the field was their biggest problem in a 122-107 loss on the road.

You might understand why Wolves were a little slow all night – they arrived late in Toronto after playing a double overtime in Chicago on Friday. But Wolves have no more room for error for the rest of the season, and every defeat is hurtful, however understandable.

Fred VanVleet started early with 22 of his 28 points in the first half. Pascal Siakam was consistent throughout with 27 points. The Raptors shot 53% for the night. Naz Reid had an explosive night off the bench for Wolves with 22 points while Jaden McDaniels threw 18 as Wolves shot 46%.

Wolves held on for the first two and a half quarters before fading towards the end of the third. Then the Raptors knocked them off the ground in the fourth.

Coach Chris Finch slotted striker Taurean Prince into the starting line-up for Wolves, who didn’t struggle to score much at first. Prince finished 1 of 7 for four points.

The defensive issues were there early on for Minnesota as the Raptors shot 55% in the first half. Jakob Poeltl started by hitting his first five shots, then VanVleet took over.

He was 8 for 12 for 22 points in the first half, and perhaps Wolves missed Edwards in defense as he might have been able to help keep VanVleet under control. He helped Toronto build an eight-point halftime lead. Naz Reid boosted the Wolves bench with 14 points. Wolves shot 56% in the first half.

Reid helped bring Wolves back in the third quarter to take a one-point lead, but the bench squandered all of Wolves’ momentum late in the quarter. Turnovers and missed shots led to an 11-2 surge to end the third for the Raptors, who led by nine heading into the fourth.

Toronto was relentless and continued to increase their lead throughout the fourth as Finch retired their starters with just over three minutes left.

The Star Tribune did not send the author of this article to the game. It was written using a broadcast, interviews and other documents.

startribune Gt Itly

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