The Raps (40-27) are doing what they promised and slowly trying to turn things around in time to solidify their post-season position. Kyle Lowry’s triple-double, his second triple-double of the season, lead the Raptors past Pacers, 117-98 Monday night, taking two wins in their last three games. In the match-up against Indiana, Lowry had 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals helped them blowout Indiana. Lowry, as many superstitious athletes like to do – change a routine to change their luck – he pulled out his headband just for fun and it seemed to change his fortunes. Both Lou Williams also wore his cotton band, and DeRozan considered donning one, too, on what turned out to be a special night for the Raptors.
After the game, DeMar DeRozan told media, ”When things are not going so fun, you have got to find some things to make it fun again, we can’t be too uptight or too down. We still have to have fun with it and I think Lou (Williams) and Kyle showed that tonight. Just something small like that carries over into the game.”
They are now 3-7 in their last 10, winning only the third time in the last 13 games, and they will have to string together a few more key wins to stay atop the Atlantic division. But the brighter side of those statistics are that the Raps finally earned its 40th win in fewer than 70 games for the first time in franchise history. Toronto Coach, Dwane Casey, in post-game commentary praised his team saying, ”That is the way we have to play, that is something we have been imploring and we got it together. That was one of the best, close to, 48 minutes in a while. We’ve got to continue to do that and keep that focus.”
The Raptors will host Minnesota (14-52) on Wednesday, who are at the bottom of the Northwest Division. This is a good opportunity to once again gain more points in the stretch drive to close out the season on a positive note and in good form. The Wolves have lost five straight and nine of 10 entering this game. They are battling New York for the league’s worst record. The numbers also tell a similar story, where the Wolves have lost 10 straight games in Toronto, last winning there in 2004. Toronto has won 18 of the last 19 meetings overall and the odds are likely that that trend will continue. Minnesota is running out of healthy players with guards Gary Neal (ankle) and Ricky Rubio (ankle) and big men Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and Kevin Garnett (knee) all listed as questionable. That leaves the Wolves with only two real offensive threats in guard Kevin Martin and rookie forward Andrew Wiggins.
Toronto will look to win two straight for the first time since a four-game run Feb. 6-20. It seems as if Lowry won’t be needing his good-luck charm anymore either. ”The headband is done, don’t worry about it again,” drawing laughter from the media, as Lowry spoke about the upcoming game against Minnesota. Look for an easy win as it gets in the NBA if the Raps stay focused and disciplined.
Our Pick: Raptors 109, Timberwolves 86