Timberwolves lose to Raptors 103-91, head into All-Star break eyeing playoff spot

After the final game before the annual NBA All-Star break, the Minnesota Timberwolves will head into the week off looking for some needed rest after losing to the Toronto Raptors 103-91 Wednesday night at Target Center. 

All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns led the team in scoring with 24 points combined with 11 rebounds. Rising Star Jaden McDaniels scored 18 points with seven rebounds, and Pat Beverley scored 10 points. 

If the Timberwolves were tired on the second night of a back-to-back after an overtime victory on Tuesday, they didn’t show it early.

Fireworks started before points were even scored, as Timberwolves team agitator Pat Beverley and Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. exchanged words – and technical fouls – as they battled for opening position before tip-off. From then on a tone of intensity had been set for the rest of the game.

Toronto got off to an early 13-point lead behind the hot shooting of Trent Jr. – who had his father and former Timberwolves guard watching him courtside – but Minnesota continued to muster defensive stops and enough shots to take the lead for the first time with three minutes remaining in the first half, settling into a halftime lead of 51-49. Although relegated to the bench again, Jaden McDaniels led the second unit with 11 points at the half. 

D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates after Jaden McDaniels #3 (not pictured) drew a foul against the Toronto Raptors in the second quarter of the game at Target Center on February 16, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Raptor

Two minutes into the third quarter Towns appeared to jam a finger going for a rebound, and immediately signaled for a replacement after noticeably favoring his right hand. The panic-inducing moment for fans in attendance would be brief, as he returned only moments later to continue to play despite visible discomfort throughout the rest of the game. 

The Raptors would build a lead in the fourth as the tired Timberwolves would ultimately admit defeat in the loss despite a team effort that kept the home crowd energized – at one point cutting the deficit to five – for the second straight night. 

A new feature to the Bally Sports North broadcast has had head coach Chris Finch fitted with a microphone, providing observations throughout the course of the game. Although it provided a glimpse of his loose pregame nature, it also made visible his displeasure with his team’s consistent effort throughout the course of the game. 

In post-game interviews Finch said he thought the team was tired, but also said he would not let players use that as an excuse throughout the remainder of the season. 

Minnesota is now 31-28, and no. 7 in the Western Conference. How they play in the remaining 23 games of the regular season will determine whether or not the suddenly not-so-quiet fans continue to stand and back them.