RAPTORS 137, TIMBERWOLVES 126 –WHAT THE TEAMS SAID: "It didn’t feel like a win going away for quite a long time. There was a lot of energy in the game. I think we are getting everybody’s A-plus game. They were really good I thought for a lot of stretches and we just had to try and figure some things out and as you saw we had a lot of unconnected defence for a lot of the game, but the chemistry between those guys that were out there started to build. Our switching got a little bit better, we stopped all the backcutting and miscommunication on some of that stuff for a nice stretch there in the third and fourth quarter, got it under control." — NICK NURSE.

(16-36) MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, 126 VS. (40-14) TORONTO RAPTORS, 137 SCOTIABANK ARENA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2020

TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES

NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)

On winning going away … Well, first of all it didn’t feel like a win going away for quite a long time. There was a lot of energy in the game. I think we are getting everybody’s A-plus game. They were really good I thought for a lot of stretches and we just had to try and figure some things out and as you saw we had a lot of unconnected defence for a lot of the game, but the chemistry between those guys that were out there started to build. Our switching got a little bit better, we stopped all the backcutting and miscommunication on some of that stuff for a nice stretch there in the third and fourth quarter, got it under control.

On OG Anunoby … He was really good, I thought his decisions were really, really good tonight. The only questionable decision I thought he made, one time he was open for a corner three and he pump-faked, there was nobody there and he went to left and made it anyway. So it ended up being a good decision as well. He was good defensively, we put him all over the place. We had him on (Karl-Anthony) Towns a lot and he was doing a good job, he had to switch out on (D’Angelo) Russell because of that. He was just making some really good reads. I thought those guys got some hands on some balls. I thought Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) came up with a couple huge steals as well, but OG had a pretty complete game out there, that’s why we let him run, what was it 15 or 16 straight there through the quarter.

On what you did on D’Angelo Russell in the fourth quarter … We really tried to press up on him and make him drive it. We just sat down, sat back a little too much and he is going to make those no matter where he is. Then we did try and trap him out of the timeouts a lot when we got the right matchup on him and I think we turned him over twice out of time outs for layups, which was huge.

FRED VANVLEET (16 points, seven assists, three steals) Did you think you’d have to play centre tonight? I wasn’t expecting that. When we got here we were a little shocked to hear about Serge, but it happens. At this point we are used to having guys out, unfortunately. Like I said before, next man up. I thought Rondae did an amazing job and I think it helped us in the second half, especially when we were able to switch on the fly. Do you guys take for granted your ability to ability to adapt? Probably, I think we’re used to it at this point. I think we can get a little lackadaisical at times, as you can see, I think that it is a huge tool for us to be able to use in certain situations. I think we realize when we play against other teams how we are able to take advantage on the other end. We probably do take it for granted to answer your question. I think it’s something that keeps developing and it’s something we have in our back pocket when we need to.

How do you execute on both ends when you enter a game knowing there is a significant size differential? Just effort. That’s it. Once we calmed down on our defensive schemes I thought we were in a good position to get most of the boards and obviously we got a few offensive rebounds, so that helps. Give those guys credit in there, Rondae, Chris, Pascal, Kyle, OG. Give these guys credit, they go up and get them and battle with someone like Towns who is a really good offensive rebounder. They have a lot of corner crashers from the wing coming in. I think we did a good job of putting bodies on them and cleaning the glass.

Does the streak help keep the team focus as you approach the break? Yes, it’s fun. I think it’s at a good time. At this time of the season people are looking ahead to the break and it’s one of those weird points in the season where you have to find some inspiration and energy sometimes. I think to be rolling the way we are right now it gives us a little extra boost. For the most part we’ve been coming out engaged. Tonight we weren’t ourselves in the first half. Obviously we cleaned it up in the third quarter and we are trying to keep it going as long as we can. I think it’s in the back of everyone’s mind.

PASCAL SIAKAM (34 points, six rebounds, five assists)

How big of a challenge is it for the team to find out about injuries just before the game? It’s not a good thing, but it feels like another day. Something happening and we’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got guys stepping up. It was a great job by Rondae, OG to be able to guard those guys like Karl-Anthony Towns. It was good for us. It speaks to the character of the team. We’ve got guys ready. They can’t wait to come in and get an opportunity to play. Once they get it they go at it.

Do you feel more prepared for these challenges than you were at the beginning of the year? Probably, I think you can say that. We’ve never had our entire team for a while. We have had to adjust and figure it out. I’m sure guys now know that you have to be ready every day because you don’t know what’s going to happen. Today you might be sitting on the bench and the next day you may be starting. That just has to be the mentality and I think everyone knows that.

Does it feel like you’re on a streak? Yes, I mean obviously I see it every time I’m on Instagram or something. For us it’s about every single day coming in and taking every game one at a time, making sure we come out and execute every single game and have a game plan.

Do you find the confidence of the team is growing in its ability to adapt to different challenges? I think we have a system and we trust that the coaches have a game plan that we are going to execute. If it’s not working we trust that we can adjust on the fly and try something else. I think one thing that we’ve been doing is trying different things out. We have a lot of things we can throw at you. We trust that it’s going to work and if it doesn’t work go to the next thing.

RONDAE HOLLIS-JEFFERSON (20 points, six rebounds, three steals)

How much energy do you get when you find out you’ll be starting? I try to stay with the same mindset and be locked into what I have to do. I know I’m a defender. I know I can bring energy and bring that spark to the guys. I just try to lock into that at the end of the day.

How much different is it as a defender when you’re guarding a big man? It’s definitely different. The battle itself, holding your own ground, but they’ve got five inches on me, four inches on me, 30 pounds on me or so. It’s definitely a battle, but it’s about being mentally tough, having that resiliency. Coming from where I come from I was born with it, inherited it. Chester, PA, thank you. I love a challenge at the end of the day.

(16-36) MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, 126 VS. (40-14) TORONTO RAPTORS, 137 SCOTIABANK ARENA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2020

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES QUOTES

RYAN SAUNDERS (HEAD COACH)

What were the Raptors doing down the stretch to make it so difficult? A lot of credit to them, and that organization. There’s a reason they have won 15 games in a row. They play with a sense of urgency and they have a great identity about them. I thought they got physical with us; some things didn’t go our way. They were able to force some turnovers that got them in the open court and kind of broke it open a little bit. I’m really proud of this group and the way these guys did keep fighting back, even that second unit they were the ones who really pulled us into the game late in that third and early in that fourth.

Even in the loss, you like the energy and effort you saw throughout? Yes, I do. I feel really good about us going home, having a solid day tomorrow and also a good game on Wednesday, and then using the break to recharge and also, evaluate and really dissect what we can do moving forward.

With all the new guys coming together, do you expect the turnovers? We knew that, we kind of said that. Against the Clippers, we did a great job of taking care of the ball, which you almost expect to happen some more turnovers against a team like the Clippers, and then you play a team like Toronto; they’re a good test for us. The one thing that Toronto does such a great job of is your turnovers are as good as twos and threes for them, the way they push the ball and the way they can score in the open court. So I think that’s where it hurt us even more.

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (23 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists)

On tonight’s game… I thought we played well. We played well throughout the game, obviously, they’ve won 14 games in a row and they’re hot. They made some shots obviously, but I thought we stuck right with them. We showed a lot of toughness. We showed a lot of grit. No matter what the game threw at us, we found ways to get back and stay close, get the lead, or whatever the case may be. They’re a good team and we played hard. We played together and we gritted and grinded, you know, we just didn’t come out with a win tonight. I’m proud of our guys for playing as hard as we did. I think we pushed them to a lot of brinks tonight and we made them earn it.

On playing with D’Angelo Russell… It was a lot of fun… You could see how much we were talking to each other and we were just hyping each other up and everything. That’s my brother, man. I told him that I don’t know if he’ll ever have a teammate that loves him as much as I do and have his back more than I do. I’d die for that man and I know he would do the same for me.

D’ANGELO RUSSELL (22 points, five assists, one steal)

How did it feel playing tonight? It was great. (I’m) super excited about this group. You know what Karl does, what he brings to the table, but just the group in general, the coaching staff, I look forward to this challenge of figuring out what we can do to get better every day.

How long do you think it will take you to learn plays and terminology? There’s no right answer to that. I think just in general our pace of what we want to work at on the offensive end (and) the defensive end … The quicker we get in film and get some games under our belt to be better; I think that’s on our time.

What do you think the biggest challenge is coming into a game like this with a new team? That’s a great team over there. They’re obviously capable of doing great things. Nick Nurse is a great coach, but in general I think we’re worried about us. The more we can get some games under our belt and just dissect the film from being better individually; I think it’ll help our team chemistry as a w

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