Late Surge Propels Raptors to 86-81 Victory Over Timberwolves
The Toronto Raptors are starting to find their groove defensively.
After knocking off the Milwaukee Bucks in two straight contests, the Raptors appeared sluggish throughout their second game of a back-to-back against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
With no Kyle Lowry or OG Anunoby in the fold, the Raptors persevered and hung tough en route to overcoming an eight point forth quarter deficit in an eventual 86-81 win. Norman Powell led the way with 31 points on the night, but it was Terence Davis with three clutch three-pointers that helped the Raptors claw back and eventually take a lead they would not relinquish late in the final frame.
“He’s been a prime time player, he really has,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse of Powell following the hard fought win. “He’s been at his very best since he’s been here and that means as a two-way player. He’s playing great, shooting’s great, he’s exploding to the rim but he’s also been put on some tough matchups as well as he’s handled those. He’s been a good team defender as well, a solid rebounder, at least in his blocking out and things like that.
“His entire game, his all-around game has been good. Obviously the scoring shows up because he has been super explosive there too. He’s been as good as he’s ever been for us.”
Teams have truly had no answer to Powell who has averaged 21.7 points per game on 54.8 per cent shooting from the field and 48 per cent from three-point range.
“Honestly, I don’t think about it,” said Powell. “I just go out every game, flush whatever happened in the game – whether it was a good game or bad game, whatever it is – and just focus on what I need to do in the moment, what the game is asking me to do. Just continue to play. I put in the work daily, I get extra work in and stay confident within myself and what the team is doing and let the game work for me. I really don’t think about anything when I’m out there. I’m just playing basketball.”
After a 2-8 start, the Raptors have finally reached the .500 mark and will look to build on their three game win streak when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers next!