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Toronto Raptors

Red-hot Toronto Raptors use balanced scoring attack to outlast Minnesota Timberwolves, win 15th straight game

The Toronto Raptors remain hot as they earned a 137-126 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves to advance to 40-14 on the season.

All-Star Pascal Siakam led the way with 34 points (on 14-for-21 shooting) and the Raptors were also red hot from the field as he was one of four players to score 20 or more points.

Here are some thoughts from the game:

That's 15 in a row

Toronto has now set a new Canadian professional sports record as it extended its franchise-record win streak to 15 games. It's also the 11th longest winning streak in the NBA over the last decade.

The Raptors have not lost since Jan. 12 and continue to find different ways to win through injury and adversity.

Tonight was no different.

Whew… it was a high-scoring affair

At the half, Minnesota held a 75-74 lead.

A 19-point third quarter for the Wolves was ultimately their downfall but they picked right back up with a 32-point fourth. In the end, the Raptors outlasted their opponent with a 63-point second half.

In a game where the teams combined to score 263 points, some of the shooting splits are bound to be eye-popping.

Toronto finished the night shooting 51-for-89 (57.3%) from the field and 17-for-33 (51.5%) from beyond the arc. Minnesota wasn't as potent from either area but still shot a red-hot 18-for-40 (45.0%) from deep.

A career night for OG

After setting a career-high earlier in the season, third-year forward OG Anunoby was at it again.

Anunoby put his scoring ability on display as he finished with 25 points (on 10-for-13 shooting) and also pulled down 12 rebounds (five offensive), dished out three assists and grabbed three steals.

Toronto moves to 21-4 this season when OG scores 20 or more points.

Pascal finds the 3-point stroke

In the five games leading into this one, Pascal Siakam was 4-for-20 (20.0%) from beyond the arc.

In this game alone, Siakam shot 6-for-8 (75.0%) from 3, matching a career-high for 3-pointers made.

Overall, the first-time All-Star shot 66.7% from the field as he finished with a game-high 34 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and to steals.

Lowry's return

After missing Saturday night with whiplash, All-Star Kyle Lowry was back in the lineup on Monday.

He didn't miss a beat.

Lowry finished with 27 points (on 9-for-16 shooting), 11 assists and seven rebounds. The only knock on his performance tonight would be his eight turnovers but that was a problem that plagued the entire team.

Hustle-Jefferson steps up

The Next Man Up mentality really defines the 2019-20 Raptors.

Less than two hours before tip-off, it was announced that starting centre Serge Ibaka would be unavailable as he dealt with flu-like symptoms. With Karl-Anthony Towns on the other side, what would the Raptors do?

Simple, start 6-foot-7 forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the 5.

In 34 minutes of action, Jefferson made his presence felt, finishing with 21 points, six rebounds and three steals and used five fouls while working to guard one of the league's most talented big men.

Which brings us to…

Containing KAT

Karl Anthony-Towns stands at 6-foot-11 and entered the night averaging 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest.

Because of the aforementioned late scratch of Ibaka, 6-foot-9 bigs Chris Boucher and Pascal Siakam were the tallest available players for the Raptors.

What would they do to slow KAT down?

With the scrappy Rondae Hollis-Jefferson starting at centre, he was tasked with attempting to contain Towns, but it was a team effort. Throughout the night, Toronto would send as many as three extra defenders to make things difficult for KAT.

The result? Towns finished with 23 points (on 5-for-13 shooting), 10 rebounds, seven assists and five turnovers. By all metrics, it was a solid night for Towns but the Raptors made him work and sent him to the line, where he shot 10-for-12.

D-Lo's debut

The D'Angelo Russell era in Minnesota has officially begun and it looks to be a promising one.

In his first game as a Timberwolf, Russell finished with 22 points and five rebounds although he committed six turnovers. Russell and Towns are both under 25, have each earned at least one All-Star selection and are great friends off the court.

With these two serving as the franchise cornerstones, Minnesota can begin to build for the new era.

What's next?

One game remains before the All-Star break begins for each team. The Raptors head to Brooklyn where they will take on the Nets Wednesday while the Timberwolves return home to host the Hornets on Wednesday.

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