In thw words of The Rock, "Finally the Raptors have come back to Toronto." After playing the last three games on the road, the Raptors return home desperately needing a win to put an end to this 13 game losing streak, the teams longest since 2002. It would be no easy task, as the rebounder machine Kevin Love and his pack of Wolves are the opponents. So what would give tonight, would the Raptors get thier 14 win on the season or would Love and his wolf pack push their streak to 14 straight losses?
Before the quarter started we received word that Kevin Love was selected by David Stern to be Yao's replacement for the All-Star team, so congrats to Mr. Love for making the team, also congrats to David Stern for making the right decision. Hopefully Love hasn't heard about this yet or else it may inspire him to tear it up on the court.
The Wolves come out firing in the second with five quick points and it seemed like this game way turn out like it did in the previous meeting. The great defense that the Raptors had played a quarter ago was not non-existent and they were giving up open looks from the perimeter and the Wolves embark on a run to take the lead. The Raps would charge back though and tie the game on a Trey Johnson jumper. The T-Wolves were still feeling a bit of that Christmas spirit (credited to James, since i took this from his tweet) and kept turning the ball over thus giving Toronto various chances to get out and score in transition. Michael Beasley who was pretty much quiet in this made, made his presence felt, but it wasn't in a beneficial way for his team as he would turn his ankle, call a timeout during the play and quickly hop on one leg all the way to the locker room. If you had blinked you would have missed him since he moved so quickly doing this. The one thing keeping the Wolves in this game was their 3-point shooting as they were 6-13 at the half, but trailed 59-55. Bargnani had 13 points for the Raps, Jose who was dropping dimes like crazy had 10 and Love had 14 point and 6 boards for the T-Wolves.
Unlike the second when the T-Wolves come out and scored five straight points the Raptors were the ones scoring the five points, but the Wolves would answer with a three and both teams would go on the trade buckets for much of this quarter. The Raptors interior defense was once again an issue as Darko and Love were getting easy buckets in the paint, but where the Raptors excelled was by continuing to get out in transition. Amir Johnson would make his presence know in this quarter as hoe was doing all the little things and recorded a double-double during the quarter. The Raptors had maintained their lead for the entire quarter though Minnesota made several runs to try and reclaim that lead, but when the buzzer sounded to signal the quarters end that Raptors had a six point lead. Thismay not have been the greatest of leads, but you had to get the feeling that they would come through and give the fans at the ACC a win.
Trey Johnson would open the quarter in the fourth and Toronto would soon capture a 10 point lead, but the Wolves always seemed to have an answer and didn't want to go away. The one area in which they kept getting their chances was on the offensive boards as the Raptors weren't doing a great job boxing out. Minny was also continuing the stellar shooting from behind the arc to keep themselves within striking distance. Amir and Bargnani would once again take over with come assistance from DeMar, while Jose was dropping dimes at an incredible rate. With their lead at three, Bargnani would hit a huge three to put the Raps up 6 and there was no looking back from there. Though the Wolves would cut this lead to 4, a DeMar jumper followed by an Amir slam off the Jose feed would put the Raptors up 8 and there was no looking back for the Raps. In front of a loud and deserving crowd the Raptors would walk away with a 111-100 victory and put an end to their 13 game losing skid. Andrea Bargnani was huge as he finished with 30 points and 6 boards, Amir was equally as huge as he added 19 points, 12 boards and 6 assists. The master of the assist, Jose Calderon tied a franchise record with 19 assists and DeMar chipped in with 20 points. The newest all-star member Kevin Love paced the T-Wolves with 19 points and 15 boards.
So on a night when they absolutely needed to get a win, the Raptors were able to pull together, withstand the runs of their opponent and walk away with th win. As mentioned before something had to give, and instead of losing 14 straight the Raptors got their 14th win of the season. Though it's far from a good record, this win gives the fans some relief, pleasure, comfort and a whole lot more knowing that the streak ending today and didn't continue any longer. so be happy, and merry Toronto, and enjoy this win, show the team your support and have a great Superbowl weekend.