Monday, January 9, 2012

The Big Game 1-9-12: Toronto 97 Timberwolves 87

The sometimes spectacular, always inconsistent Minnesota Timberwolves took it on the chin again, this time at the Toronto Raptors who, like the Wolves, came into the game at 3-5. Toronto dominated the last 5 minutes of the 1st half and 5 minutes near the end of the game to beat the Wolves 97-87.

The Wolves led 47-39 with 5:20 left in the 1st half, but Toronto ripped off a 16-2 run to lead 55-49 at the half. The Wolves fought back to tie it up early in the 4th quarter at 73-all, then took an 80-77 lead with 7:58 to play. This time, Toronto out-scored the Wolves 14-2 to lead 91-82 with 40 ticks left on the clock. Altogether, it was Toronto 30 Minnesota 4 at crunch time.

On the court for Minnesota during both of these crucial Toronto runs were:

• Kevin Love who went 0-for-4 (0-for-2 on 3-pointers) with a turnover
• Luke Ridnour went 0-for-2 (both for 3)
• Ricky Rubio 0-for-3 with 2 turnovers
• Derrick Williams 1-for-3 (0-for-1 3 pointer) with a turnover

J.J. Barea, Wayne Ellington, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Tolliver were on the court for 1 of the runs or part of 1 of the runs, and the 4 of them went 0-for-5 with 3 turnovers. Together, they scored on 3-of-21 possessions, making 1-of-17 shots with 7 turnovers.

Meanwhile Toronto scored on 14-of-21 possessions, hitting 9-of-17 shots, including 1-of-4 3s and 10-of-11 FT, with 1 turnover. There's a reason why Rubio was backup to Jose Calderon at point guard on the Spanish national team. At crunch time in the second half, Calderon had 4 points on 2-of-2 shooting with 1 rebound. Rubio was scoreless at 0-for-2 with a turnover.

So say what you like about Ricky Rubio, it's all true enough. But so's this. He's a rookie and tonight, at least, he got exposed at crunch time as the Wolves blew an 80-77 lead with 7 minutes to go. Still, he was the Wolves' best player...again.

Player of the Day

Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves 13 pts, 6 assists, 4 boards, 3 steals

Coach of the Day

Markus Okeson, Redwood Valley boys, has his team at 9-0 and #9 in the latest rankings from Minnesota Basketball News. (They're #2 at Breakdown Sports.) Minnesota Valley Lutheran is the latest victim 78-39.

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