Tuesday February 24 2009 – 12:01pm Eastern (Toronto)
It was exactly two weeks ago today that the Raptors were in Minnesota to face the Timberwolves. The Raps were riding a 6-game losing streak and the Wolves proved to be the perfect tonic for what was ailing T.O.
The Raptors used a 37-point 4TH quarter that night to knock off Minnesota (110-102) - riding the shoulders of Jermaine O’Neal in that monster final frame. The veteran big man went right after rookie Kevin Love and took the youngster to school.
But O’Neal is now in Miami, and Jay Triano said he’ll look to Chris Bosh (who didn’t play in that tilt two weeks ago) to pick up the slack in J.O.’s absence. If the Raptors can run like they did against the Knicks on Sunday, they should have success (exposing mismatches, etc) against Minny’s thin front line.
The Wolves will have some help though – as Craig Smith (broken rib) is healthy again and back in the line up. And recently-acquired forward, Shelden Williams, gives Minnesota more depth up front as well.
For what it’s worth … apparently folks in the Timberwolves organization and community are quite particular about the name of their franchise. “T-Wolves” should be stricken from everyone’s vocabulary according to the folks in Minnesota.
So, when referring to the franchise, word has it that “Timberwolves” or “Wolves” is acceptable, but “T-Wolves” is simply sacrilegious.
Just going through some statistics – provided by TV stat guru John Rusin – and I thought these ones sorta stood out:
Shawn Marion – 3 games with Toronto:
PPG – 13.3
REB – 11.0
ASST – 4.0
FG% – 43.1
Min – 37.7
Season Average – 12.1 PTS, 8.8 REB
Jason Kapono – Last 5 games:
PPG – 14.6
FG% – 46.0
3FG% – 46.2
REB - 4.2
MIN – 29.8
Season Average PPG – 8.3
Joey Graham – In February:
PPG – 13.0
REB – 4.6
FG% – 53.6
FT - 24/28
MIN - 28.4
Season Average PPG – 8.0
Be sure to tune in to tonight’s broadcast – with Jonesy and I – at 7:00pm. We’ll have the post game show (“The Rap”) after the final buzzer as well.