The Celtics are the hottest team in the NBA, entering Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons on a nine-game winning streak. And while it’s not worth putting too much stock into this recent stretch (you know, streaks are meant to be broken and all of that), the numbers suggest Boston could keep its winning ways […]Red-Hot Celtics Have Best Chance At NBA Title, According To FiveThirtyEight — NESN.com
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GAME #57 – TORONTO RAPTORS (31-25) at MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (30-27)
WDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2022 – 8 P.M. (ET) – TARGET CENTER
TV: TSN – RADIO: SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN
The Toronto Raptors (31-25) finish play before the All-Star break Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves (30-27) at Target Center. The Raptors have lost consecutive games (Feb. 12-14) following
an eight-game winning streak – their longest of the season. Toronto is 10-11 vs. the Western Conference this season, after going 10-20 against the West in 2020-21.
• Fred VanVleet scored a team-high 20 points Monday at New Orleans. VanVleet has now scored 20+ points in a career-high seven straight games played (Feb. 1-12), averaging 22.0 points and shooting .457 (32-70) from three-point range during this stretch. He sat out Feb. 10 at Houston with left groin soreness.
VanVleet connected on four three-pointers against the Pelicans and has now made 201 threes this season third most in a season in Raptors history; behind only Kyle Lowry (238 in 2017-18 & 212 in 2015-16).
• Pascal Siakam is currently averaging 22.0 points, and career highs of 8.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists, in 43 games this season. He is one of just six players in the NBA averaging 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, James Harden, Nikola Jokic & Dejounte Murray.
• Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch was hired midway through last season after spending the first half of the season as an assistant coach on Nick Nurse’s staff. Nurse and Finch have a relationship that goes
back decades when both were coaching in the British Basketball League in the mid-1990s. Finch was also head coach of Britain’s team at the 2012 London Olympics where Nurse was one of his assistants.
• The Raptors set season lows shooting .305 (29-95) from the field and recorded just eight assists in Monday’s loss at New Orleans. Toronto did grab 20 offensive rebounds against the Pelicans and converted those into 24 second-chance points. The Raptors (13.2 OREB, 16.3 2ND PTS ) and Timberwolves (11.9
OREB, 15.4 2ND PTS) rank second and third, respectively, in the NBA in both offensive rebounds and second-chance points this season. Scottie Barnes currently leads all rookies with a team-high 119 offensive boards – the most by a Raptors rookie since Jonas Valanciunas (121) in 2012-13.
• Fred VanVleet has been named a reserve for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, Feb. 20 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. VanVleet becomes just the eighth player in franchise history to earn an All-Star selection. He is the first undrafted player in the NBA to be named an
All-Star since Ben Wallace in 2006. VanVleet will also compete in the MTN Dew 3-Point Contest.
• Sophomore Precious Achiuwa and rookie Scottie Barnes have been selected to participate in the 2022 Rising Stars, which will be played on Friday, Feb. 18 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland as part of NBA All-Star 2022. Toronto will have two players in the showcase event for the first time since Andrea
Bargnani and Jamario Moon in 2008. Barnes will also participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
F – SCOTTIE BARNES #4
MIN: 35.5 REB: 7.5 AST: 3.3 STL: 1.0 TO: 1.9 BLK: 0.8 PTS: 14.5
• Finished with five points, four rebounds and one block in 20 minutes Feb. 14 at New Orleans.
• Ranks first among rookies in minutes (35.5), third in rebounds (7.5), and fourth in points (14.5).
• Has scored 20+ points 10 times – the most by a Raptors rookie since Charlie Villanueva (12) in 2005-06.
F – OG ANUNOBY #3
MIN: 36.9 REB: 5.6 AST: 2.7 STL: 1.6 TO: 1.7 BLK: 0.6 PTS: 17.7
• Contributed three points, two rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of action Feb. 14 at New Orleans.
• Has scored 20+ points in a single-season career-high 18 games; something he did 13 times last season.
• Averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 20 games on the road.
C – PASCAL SIAKAM #43
MIN: 37.8 REB: 8.7 AST: 5.1 STL: 1.3 TO: 2.7 BLK: 0.7 PTS: 22.0
• Recorded 18 points, five rebounds and one assist in 33 minutes Feb. 14 at New Orleans.
• Toronto is 30-6 all-time, including 6-1 this season, when Siakam scores 30+ points.
• Leads the Raptors with 18 double-doubles – has matched his single-season career-high set in 2018-19.
G – GARY TRENT JR. #33
MIN: 34.8 REB: 2.6 AST: 1.9 STL: 1.9 TO: 1.0 BLK: 0.3 PTS: 18.3
• Tallied six points and grabbed one rebound in 28 minutes Feb. 14 at New Orleans.
• Ranks second in the NBA in steals per game (1.89) and fifth in total deflections (163).
• Has scored 30+ points in seven games, something he did three times in his first three seasons combined.
G – FRED VANVLEET #23
MIN: 38.4 REB: 4.6 AST: 7.0 STL: 1.6 TO: 2.7 BLK: 0.5 PTS: 21.6
• Scored a team-high 20 points Feb. 14 at New Orleans; added five rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes.
• Ranks second in the NBA in total deflections (194) and three-pointers made (201), and tied for sixth in steals (82).
• Leads the NBA in minutes per game (38.4) – has logged 40+ minutes in 15 games this season.
Isaac Bonga (G League – On Assignment) – Out
David Johnson (G League – Two-Way) – Out
Fred VanVleet (Right Knee; Soreness) – TBD
Opponent: Minnesota Timberwolves
Date: Wednesday, February 16
Tip-Off: 8 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Target Center
Radio: Sportsnet 590 the FAN
SERIES RECAP VS. MINNESOTA
OVERALL HOME ROAD
2020-21 1-1 0-1 1-0
ALL-TIME 34-16 22-4 12-12
STREAKS Won 1 Lost 1 Won 3
LAST WIN: Feb. 19, 2021 (86-81)
LAST ROAD WIN: Feb. 19, 2021 (86-81)
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: +23 (Feb. 10, 2008)
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT: -32 (Mar. 19, 2002)
LAST TIME VS. MINNESOTA
GAME 30 – FEBRUARY 20, 2021
TORONTO 86, MINNESOTA 81
MINNEAPOLIS — Norman Powell scored a season-high 31 points and
the Toronto Raptors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 86-81, closing the
game with an 11-0 run … Toronto earned its third straight win … Fred
VanVleet had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Pascal Siakam added
10 points and nine boards … Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 19
points and 13 rebounds … Malik Beasley scored 13 and Jordan McLaughlin had 11 … After trailing by as many as 19, the Wolves clawed their way
back into the game with a 16-0 run midway through the third quarter …
Jake Layman had a dunk and a 3-pointer during the stretch, which tied the
game at 57 … Rookie Anthony Edwards added a long jumper and a vicious dunk as part of a three-point play, helping Minnesota to a 64-58 lead
heading into the fourth … Minnesota led 81-75 with 3:30 to play when
Toronto took over … VanVleet hit a pair of free throws, Powell scored on
a transition layup, and Siakam threw down a tying dunk … On Minnesota’s next possession, Towns was called for a moving screen, and on the
other end, Terence Davis hit his third 3-pointer of the quarter to make it 84
-81 with 30 seconds to play … The Wolves had a chance to tie it, but
Beasley’s 3-pointer was short, and Davis hit two free throws for Toronto …
Playing a second straight game without point guard Kyle Lowry (sprained
thumb), the Raptors dominated the first half, thanks in part to Minnesota’s
cold shooting … At one point the Wolves missed 18 straight 3-pointers.
1 2 3 4 TOT
TORONTO 28 17 13 28 86
MINNESOTA 15 20 29 17 81
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