VanVleet leads as Raptors rout Timberwolves 122-107; Toronto wins third straight
TORONTO — Fred VanVleet scored 28 to power the Raptors past the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-107 on Saturday for Toronto's third-straight win.
Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl each had a double-double for the Raptors (35-36), who wore their black and gold OVO jerseys to match the Scotiabank Arena court.
Siakam scored 27, pulled down 10 rebounds and added six assists. Poeltl had 14 points, 12 in the first quarter alone, and 11 boards.
Naz Reid scored 22 off the bench for Minnesota (35-37), which lost its third game in a row. Jaden McDaniels added 18.
Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who is from Toronto, scored four.
VanVleet got off to a hot start, scoring 15 in the first quarter, including drilling a three-pointer with 4:58 left in the frame to put Toronto up by four. He and Poeltl were a potent perimeter-paint threat, combining for 27 points to help the Raptors to a 32-26 lead in the first frame.
Poeltl scored a season-high 12 points in the quarter. His previous high for a single quarter was 10 on March 2 against the Washington Wizards.
OG Anunoby got off a buzzer-beating three-pointer to bring the sold-out crowd of 19,800 to their feet and give the Raptors a 66-58 lead at the intermission.
Kyle Anderson's jumper early in the third quarter pulled Minnesota to within two. After exchanging several field goals, McDaniels drilled a three-pointer to bring the visitors to within one.
A driving Reid layup with 4:16 left in the third gave the Timberwolves a lead — albeit by just a point — for the first time since 6:13 into the game.
The lead swung back and forth between Toronto and Minnesota for the rest of the third quarter.
Montreal's Chris Boucher blocked Reid's shot with 36 seconds left in the quarter then, at the other end of the court, he converted a pass from Siakam into a three-pointer. On the ensuing Timberwolves' possession, Gary Trent Jr. stole the ball from Jordan McLaughlin and broke away on his own for an uncontested layup and a 94-85 Raptors lead heading into the fourth.
Scottie Barnes made a layup two minutes into the fourth, forcing Minnesota to take a timeout with the Raptors holding a 13-point lead.
Toronto didn't look back after that, continuing to press every time Minnesota scored. A two-handed Poeltl jam, his first points since the opening quarter, followed by a Trent three-pointer gave the Raptors a 19-point lead and sent dozens of fans to the exits.
It also prompted Toronto head coach Nick Nurse to put out some of his depth players, including Joe Wieskamp who had already played earlier in the day for Raptors 905, Toronto's G League affiliate.
MASKED MAN — Raptors rookie centre Christian Koloko fractured his nose late in Thursday's 128-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Koloko was listed as questionable before Saturday's game but played nine minutes with a protective mask on.
"We just totally put all those questionable guys as 'in,'" said Nurse before the game.
UP NEXT — The Raptors travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Sunday night.
Minnesota continues its road trip with a game in New York against the Knicks on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press