Andrea Bargnani scored 31 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 97-87 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
Toronto opened its back-to-back-to-back stretch with a victory and won for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings with Minnesota, which has dropped three of its last four outings and wraps its back-to-back-to-back run in Chicago on Tuesday.
Bargnani shot only 1 for 6 from beyond the arc, but consistently drained long two-pointers to stretch the Timberwolves’ interior defense. That freed up space for guards Jose Calderon and Leandro Barbosa, who combined for 27 points.
Minnesota’s well went dry for almost a six-minute span in the fourth quarter, missing 10 straights shots to let Toronto grab a six-point lead with just over a minute remaining. The Timberwolves mustered only 38 points in the second half.
Timberwolves center Kevin Love struggled around the hoop, shooting only 3 for 16 and finishing with 13 points – well below his average of 25.4 points. Credit should go to the defense of Raptors forward Amir Johnson, who also dug deep for eight offensive rebounds and 19 points.
The Raptors, who scored only 62 points in their last game, posted 55 in the first half – their biggest first-half total of the season.
Minnesota’s point guard trio of Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour combined for 39 points and 10 assists while rookie forward Derrick Williams chipped in with 13 points.