Raptors 97, Timberwolves 87
As the missed shots piled up, Timberwolves center Kevin Love started wondering what was going wrong. Could the baskets be working against him somehow?
''It felt like there was a cap on the rim at some point,'' Love said. ''I remember (missing) a reverse layup and looking at it like `You've got to be kidding me.'''
Andrea Bargnani matched his season-high with 31 points, Amir Johnson had a season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double and the Toronto Raptors beat Minnesota 97-87 on Monday night.
Jose Barea scored a season-high 16 points and Love had 13 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota, which hasn't won in Toronto since Jan. 21, 2004. Toronto has won 14 of its last 15 games against the Timberwolves.
Subpar shooting was the big reason Minnesota was unable to reverse its losing trend north of the border. The Timberwolves shot a season-low 34 percent for the game, making just six of 20 field goal attempts in the fourth.
Love struggles more than anyone, hitting only three of his 16 shots and missing half of his 10 free throw attempts.
''Five for 10, that's not like me,'' Love said. ''That's kind of how the game went for me today.''
Minnesota was playing the second in a stretch of three straight games, while the Raptors were playing the first game in their only back-to-back-to-back this season.
''(Love) just didn't look like he had the energy he needed tonight,'' Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. ''He's going to have games like that. He missed five free throws and that's really uncharacteristic.''
In the first meeting between Spanish point guards Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio, the Toronto veteran finished with a narrow edge over the Minnesota rookie. Calderon had 14 points, six assists and three rebounds in 40 minutes, while Rubio had 10 points, six assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes.
''He's a great player,'' Calderon said of Rubio. ''Minnesota has an unbelievable player for the future. He's going to be even better, this is just the beginning.''
Rubio, who missed seven of nine shots, credited Toronto for playing tough defense.
''They stayed in the paint and we couldn't score threes or jump shots,'' Rubio said. ''We didn't have luck today.''
Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to score 13 points for the Raptors, who won for the first time in three games.
Luke Ridnour and Derrick Williams each had 13 points for Minnesota.
Down 47-39 with 5:20 left in the second, the Raptors went on a 16-2 run to finish the quarter, taking a 55-49 lead into the half.
Barea scored seven points as Minnesota ended the third quarter with an 8-0 spurt, cutting it to 73-69. Williams opened the fourth with a dunk and Barea made a driving layup as the Wolves tied it at 73-73 with 10:53 to play.
Bargnani's reverse layup with 6:36 left knotted it again at 80-80, and no one scored for the next 3:20 until Johnson tipped in Bargnani's missed jumper, putting the Raptors ahead 82-80 with 3:16 remaining. Calderon and Bargnani followed with jumpers, making it 86-80 with less than two minutes to go.
''We got stuck on 80 for a while,'' Barea said. ''I think that killed us. They made us take tough shots and the ball wasn't going in.''
NOTES: Timberwolves F Michael Beasley (sprained right foot) did not accompany the team on this two-game road trip and is not expected to play in Tuesday's game against Chicago. ... Raptors C Aaron Gray underwent a procedure Monday to control repeated occurrences of a rapid heart rate. He's expected to return in two weeks. ... Toronto G Jerryd Bayless (left ankle) missed his sixth straight game. ... Barea returned after missing the past five of the past six games with a strained left hamstring. ... Toronto's Linas Kleiza (right knee surgery) has traveled to Colorado to visit the doctors who operated on him last February. Kleiza could return to the lineup Friday against Indiana. ... The Raptors visit Washington Tuesday and host Sacramento Wednesday.