After a tough but successful six-game road trip, the Toronto Raptors returned back to their home floor in Tampa on Sunday night to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. You would think that facing the team with the worst record in the NBA (7-20) on your home floor after a couple of full days of rest would be a sure-fire win right? Well, think again.
Stock Down: Raptors’ Defence
Defending Karl Anthony Towns with limited frontcourt depth presented the Raptors with a troubling mismatch to deal with coming into the night. He may have still been trying to get his legs under him after recovering from a positive COVID-19 test a few weeks ago, but Towns still did some damage putting up a solid stat line of 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and a steal.
Towns wasn’t the only player that the Raptors struggled to defend last night, the Timberwolves finished the game with six players in double-digit scoring. Anthony Edwards, the number one overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, also had a solid showing last night and is proving himself as one of the best players in an impressive draft class.
If the Raptors want to have any shot at getting a win in the next two games against the Milwaukee Bucks, they’ve got to do a better job on the defensive end.
Stock Up: Norman Powell
OG Anunoby continues to recover from a calf injury that has forced him to miss the past ten games for the Raptors. During that time, Norman Powell has been one of the Raptors’ most consistent scorers, putting up 20 or more points in nine of his last eleven starts.
Anunoby has been a game-time decision the past few games and his return to the starting lineup may happen sooner than later. Nick Nurse will be tasked with a tough decision on what to do with the starting lineup and we could definitely see some more small ball when Anunoby does return.
Looking ahead at the next five games on the Raptors schedule really makes this loss sting: Back-to-back matchup’s against the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, with another showdown against the Timberwolves in Minnesota in between. It seemed like not too long ago we were all talking about the Raptors getting back to .500, but fans may have to wait a little longer than they hoped.