It wasn't pretty, but the Toronto Raptors got it done.
Behind a season high 31 points from Norman Powell, the Raptors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves to pick up their third straight victory.
The Raptors are now 15-15 on the season.
Karl-Anthony Towns had a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double to lead the way for the Timberwolves, but it wasn't enough to overcome Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards combining for 20 points on 8-for-30 shooting from the field.
For more on the game, here are some thoughts at the buzzer...
1. The injury report
With it being the second night of a back-to-back, OG Anunoby, who only recently returned from missing 10 straight games with a left calf strain, didn't play.
Additionally, the Raptors were without Kyle Lowry (sprained left thumb) for the second straight game. He was originally listed as questionable against the Timberwolves.
The good news: Patrick McCaw played for the first time since March 9, 2020. McCaw has been recovering from left knee surgery.
2. First-time starter
With the Raptors down Lowry and Anunoby, Chris Boucher got his first-ever start.
First career @NBA start for Montreal's finest pic.twitter.com/BYqtw0SxpR- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 20, 2021
Now in his fourth season in the NBA, Boucher came off the bench for the previous 120 games of his career.
3. Eyes in the back of his head
It was a quiet first half for Fred VanVleet but he had perhaps his sweetest pass of the season in the opening quarter.
Lol, Fred's just havin' fun out here pic.twitter.com/DVeHGpfDTh- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 20, 2021
4. Ice cold shooting
VanVleet wasn't the only one who had a quiet first half. It was a struggle for almost everyone on the Raptors and Timberwolves.
The Raptors scored 45 points through two quarters of play, doing so on 15-for-42 shooting from the field and 6-for-18 from 3-point range. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, scored 35 points on 15-for-45 shooting from the field and 3-for-22 from 3-point range.
It was quite the change from the last time the Raptors and the Timberwolves met, as Minnesota shot the lights out, going 16-for-39 from 3-point range. That's tied for the second-most 3s the Timberwolves have made in a game this season.
The only player who was able to get going for the Timberwolves in the first half on Friday was Towns, who had 11 of the team's 35 points.
As for the Raptors...
5. Norman Powell comes out hot
The Raptors would've been in trouble were it not for Powell.
Whereas everyone else on the team combined for 23 points on 8-for-29 shooting in the first half, Powell had it going with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and 5-for-9 from 3-point range.
The second quarter was crazier than the first, as Powell was responsible for 14 of Toronto's 17 points in the period.
Powell's final bucket - a 3-point pull-up over Towns - was a thing of beauty.
Really gonna give Norman Powell that much space...? pic.twitter.com/Y4b83NK7UI- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 20, 2021
Powell scored nine more points in the second half, giving him a season-best 31 points in the game.
6. The cold streak continues
The third quarter wasn't much better for the Raptors.
With 8:23 remaining in the frame, VanVleet came up with a block and hit a 3-pointer in transition to give the Raptors a 57-41 lead. The Raptors then went six minutes without scoring a single point.
The Timberwolves made them pay by scoring 16 unanswered points to get themselves back in the game and take their first lead.
13-0 run 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/QN8u7GdBMO- Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 20, 2021
The Timberwolves ended up outscoring the Raptors 29-13 in the third.
7. Anthony Edwards joins the party
To rub salt in the wound, Edwards did this to Yuta Watanabe near the end of the third quarter:
ANTHONY.- NBA (@NBA) February 20, 2021
Goodness. That's one of the best dunks I've seen in a long time. It's got to be the front-runner for Dunk of the Year ... right?
8. Making winning plays
Pascal Siakam had a quiet night overall, but he came up big down the stretch when the Raptors needed him the most.
Not only did he score six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, Siakam came up with three blocks (two of which were 3-pointers) and dished out two assists, the last of which set Terence Davis up for a 3-pointer with 30.8 seconds remaining to give the Raptors a three-point lead.
Davis then sealed the deal with a pair of three throws after the Raptors came up with a stop.
COOL. CALM. COLLECTED. @TerenceDavisJr. pic.twitter.com/ZUY2ZZ0C8P- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 20, 2021
After not playing at all in the first three quarters, Davis gave the Raptors a big boost in the fourth quarter with 11 points on 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. He ended up being Toronto's third-leading scorer in the game.
9. What's next
The Raptors return to Tampa, where they'll host the Philadelphia 76ers for a back-to-back on Sunday (Feb. 21) and Tuesday (Feb. 23).
Catch you then.
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