Toronto Raptors

Four takeaways from the Toronto Raptors 112-105 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves

#Jimmy Kawhi

The Raptors picked up their fifth straight victory to move to 5-0 on the season beating the Timberwolves 112-105 on Wednesday. It's the best start in franchise history tying the mark that was set in 2015-16.

Kawhi Leonard was once again special and Kyle Lowry keeps on reminding people he's one of the best guards in the conference finishing with another double-double.

Dwight Powell, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks come into town on Friday trying to end Toronto's win streak.

Here are four takeaways from Wednesday night's win.

Hot starts

The Raptors have been the beneficiaries of good starts on this five-game winning streak to begin the season. Toronto has outscored their opponents 127-113 in the first quarter of their first five games - on Wednesday it was a 26-19 first period that sparked the Raptors win.

The defence has also been impressive throughout and led by Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, Toronto has been locking up the wings and making it tough for opposing guards to get going. Minnesota shot 32% from the field and committed 6 turnovers leading to 10 Raptors points in the first frame. If the Raptors can count on those types of starts throughout the season it will be tough for any team to try and dig themselves out of a hole considering how tough they've been defensively.

Eight-foot Area

Nick Nurse talked about winning the eight-foot area on the broadcast, giving Minnesota credit for being one of the more physical teams in the association. The Raptors not only matched their physicality they were the one to throw the proverbial first punch. Toronto outscored the T-Wolves 56-38 in the paint. They also had 8 blocks and many other altered shots not allowing Minnesota any easy looks.

Coming into the game Toronto was only allowing 39.0 points in the paint - good for second in the league. The lack of toughness narrative that had plagued this team in years past is in the rearview mirror.

Kawhi Leonard is...back?

Marcus Morris said last week that Kawhi Leonard's production was due to the number of touches he was getting. Well, Leonard touched the ball a lot once again on Wednesday and he delivered. It was the second time Leonard had gone for at least 30 points this season finishing with a game-high 35 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

The best is still yet to come with Leonard, but it's clear that he's getting his legs back, his rhythm and his feel for the game.

Many will look to compare him to DeMar DeRozan all season long but this isn't about who he replaced, it's about who he is and who the Raptors need him to be - and so far to start the season Leonard is looking really good in a Raptors' uniform.

Where is KAT?

Without Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves needed Karl Anthony Towns to be more aggressive. His stat line of 14 points, eight rebounds left a lot to be desired considering his All-star status.

Whether or not the pre-season drama has affected his game we'll probably never know but to start this season, Towns has been average and for the face of the franchise in Minnesota, that's simply not good enough.

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