VanVleet and Lowry: A Duo We All Deserve and Need

Noora Popal
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@NooraPopal

Sunday, January 19, 2020


MINNESOTA - The Toronto Raptors traveled to Minnesota after their game against the Washington Wizards, to face the Timberwolves. Both teams were coming off back to back games, Raptors beat the Wizards 140-111, and the Timberwolves lost by 2 points to the Pacers, 116-114. Minnesota ended up losing both of their back to back games when the Raptors defeated them 120-112. 

The Timberwolves won the tip-off, and almost immediately Culver made a 3, which was followed by a jump shot from Gasol. The team had trouble on the defensive end in the 1st half, allowing Minnesota to score easily especially from behind the arc. 

They led for a large portion of the first and second quarters, and that was once again due to Toronto’s lack of defense. The Raptors were still making their shots, which is why they were able to cut the lead.

VanVleet shot a 3 that tied the game with 4:43 left in the 2nd half, followed by 2 free throws from Pascal, which gave the Raptors their first lead since the start of the game. However, they did lose the lead by the end of the second, 68-65.

The Timberwolves are a fast team, they get back quickly and are good defensively. The Raptors had to change things up in order to beat them.

The second half of the game started with a 3 from Lowry. Kyle had 28 points (10-17)/7 rebounds, and 5 made 3's within the 28 minutes that he played. Playing a back to back game is quite difficult especially when you have to travel from one city to another, but Lowry came out with a ton of energy and didn’t let his exhaustion from the night before get the better of him. When you have someone like that on your team, it is hard not to want to be like them.  

Norman Powell played in his 4th game back from a shoulder injury and he was nothing less than extraordinary. He had 20 points/4 assists, which has been pretty consistent throughout the last few games. Before injuring his shoulder, Norm was playing the best basketball of his career, and many wondered how this injury would impact him. Powell put those doubts to rest by coming back from his injury and getting 20+ points in each game. 

With the way VanVleet was playing tonight, you would never guess that this was his first night back after missing the past four games with a hamstring injury. Fred led his team in scoring with 29 points/ 4 rebounds. He also had a career-high of 7 made 3-point shots this game (7-8). 

Toronto went off in the second half, especially Kyle in the 3rd, where he got 17 points. The Raptors led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter which is what we are used to seeing from them. By getting a comfortable lead over Minnesota, and keeping it until well into the 4th, it resulted in both teams emptying their benches. Despite their efforts, the Timberwolves were not able to find a way to beat the healthy Raptors team. 

The Raptors have not had a fully healthy roaster in a very long time, so it was interesting to see everyone back and ready to grind. What the Raptors are able to accomplish when they are healthy is quite a sight to see. As the team slowly regained its pieces throughout the last week, we have seen a tremendous difference in their style of play. 

With this win in the bag, the Toronto Raptors will head to Atlanta to face the Hawks at 2:30 pm in hopes to continue this 3-game winning streak.