Raptors seek 5-0 start vs. Timberwolves
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TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors will be trying to match their franchise-best opening to a season Wednesday night when they play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Raptors have won their first four games after defeating the Charlotte Hornets 127-106 on Monday night and will be trying to equal their 5-0 start to the 2015-16 season when they play the Timberwolves (2-2).
The Timberwolves would appear to be an ideal opponent.
Toronto has won 14 straight home games against Minnesota, which is a franchise record for consecutive games against one opponent at home. The last time Toronto lost at home to Minnesota was Jan. 21, 2004.
While the Raptors' revamped offense had a productive game on Monday led by 22 points from Kawhi Leonard, coach Nick Nurse was particularly pleased with the defense.
"Yes, (the offense is) getting there a little bit," Nurse said. "I think we created a lot out of our defense (Monday), which I was probably happier with. It was a high-scoring, free-shooting team coming in here and we asked them to get out and contest and disrupt some of their rhythm stuff and we did a pretty good job of that. Eight blocked shots, got our hands on a lot of balls and got out and capitalized on a lot of it."
Defense also was the theme for the 101-91 win by the Timberwolves over the Indiana Pacers Monday night as Jimmy Butler scored 20 points,
"I thought it was our best overall defensive performance," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Even the first half, we didn't rebound well, but our activity was great. ... In the second half, our rebounding picked up and our stops got us into the open floor and so the attack was good."
Center Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 15 rebounds to earn his coach's praise.
"I thought that was one of KAT's best defensive games," Thibodeau said. "He did a number of great things: challenging shots, making people miss inside, rebounding the ball, getting out quickly. I thought he played a terrific all-around game. He's reading the ball a lot better and he's impacting shots at the rim. He's a lot more active."
Forward Andrew Wiggins, who is from the Toronto area, is listed as questionable for the game against the Raptors after suffering a contusion on his right thigh in the first quarter against the Pacers.
"I'm good; I'm feeling better," Wiggins said after the game. "Got a lot of treatment throughout the game. We have a good training staff, so I think I'll be cool."
He has not missed a game since Nov. 10, 2015.
Josh Okogie replaced Wiggins Monday night and had 12 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes.
"I just like the way he persevered through it," Thibodeau said. "I thought the spirit of the team was strong. His teammates were encouraging him to shoot and he just kept playing, which I think is important."
The Raptors continue go get strong play from point guard Kyle Lowry, who had 16 points and 14 assists against the Hornets.
"He is amazing," said Raptors guard Danny Green, who had 16 points. "He's very efficient. He can set the tone from start to finish and he complements everybody very well -- especially playing with Kawhi and myself, couldn't ask for a better guy to find on the defensive end of the floor or shoot the way he shoots it, kick it ahead.
"You know he's scoring well, but he's also facilitating well. You don't see that in many point guards or many guys in the league at all period, so he's playing at a very efficient (and) high level right now."
Updated October 24, 2018