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.