Raptors top Timberwolves 94-88

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Raptors didn’t want to hear that they’d won ugly.

Chris Bosh had 21 points and 16 rebounds, Jarrett Jack had 17 points and eight assists and Toronto beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 94-88 on Tuesday night for their first three-game win streak this season.

The Raptors won despite shooting just 32 percent (26 for 81), including 2 for 21 from 3-point range, but Bosh didn’t care.

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“A win is a win to me,” he said. “I’ve never been picky in that category. As long as you find a way, that’s what it’s about.”

Coach Jay Triano, whose team had lost five straight and nine of 11 before its current streak, had no problem with the performance.

“I think it was beautiful,” Triano said. “I wouldn’t take away any of the shots we took. It just seemed like there was a lid on the basket.”

Hedo Turkoglu scored 16 points, and DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani each added 15 as Toronto extended its winning streak over Minnesota to 11 games. The Raptors have not lost to the Timberwolves since a 108-97 home loss on Jan. 21, 2004.

“These type of wins build character and show character,” Jack said. “You’re not playing the way you’re capable of but you’ve got to find a way, find something and gut the victory out. It wasn’t pretty but it goes down as a W and that’s the important thing.”

Jack started in place of Jose Calderon (sore left hip), who missed his first game of the season after leaving Saturday’s win at Chicago.

Al Jefferson had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Love scored 18 points for the Timberwolves in his third game since returning from a fractured left hand he sustained in the preseason.

Rookie Jonny Flynn scored 17 points, Ryan Gomes had 16 and Damien Wilkins added 10 for the Timberwolves, the third straight Toronto opponent to shoot less than 40 percent.

“We’re starting to dial in a little bit,” Triano said of Toronto’s defense. “We’ve changed a few things and it seems to be working right now.”

Trailing 64-63 to begin the fourth, Ramon Sessions gave Minnesota its first lead midway through the second quarter with a pull-up jumper. Jack quickly responded with a layup as Toronto reclaimed the lead and never trailed again.

After starting 0 for 17 from 3-point range, Bargnani finally connected from outside with 4:31 left in the fourth, putting the Raptors up 82-77. The shot extended Toronto’s NBA-record streak of consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer to 883.

Down 84-78 with 3:38 left, the Timberwolves tied it on a layup by Jefferson, two free throws from Gomes and a baseline jumper by Love. But on their next possession, a sloppy behind-the-back bounce pass by Flynn led to a breakaway dunk for Turkoglu.

Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis, who spoke before the game about Flynn’s struggles fitting into a rigid system, didn’t fault the young point guard for the turnover.

“It wasn’t the greatest pass in the world,” Rambis said. “It was the appropriate decision, it just wasn’t the greatest pass.”

Flynn did not speak to the media but Love, who’d been open outside the 3-point line, acknowledged being upset with himself for not reacting quickly enough.

“I’ve got to go get the ball,” Love said. “I let the ball bounce and that was a five-point swing right there. I know a lot of things happened in the game, we fought back. I’ve just to go get that ball.”

Flynn missed a jumper on the next trip before Toronto’s Antoine Wright hit a 3-pointer in the corner, putting the Raptors up 89-84 with 1:03 remaining.

Toronto made 40 0f 48 at the free throw line, both season-highs, while the Timberwolves finished 19 for 23.

“It’s awful tough to beat teams whenever there’s a wide margin in the free throws like that,” Rambis said.

Bosh had eight points and seven rebounds as Toronto led 23-20 after one quarter.

Both teams struggled in the second, with the Raptors shooting 3 for 14 and the Timberwolves shooting 6 for 23. Jack made all six of his free throw attempts in the second as Toronto extended its lead to 43-35 at the half.

Toronto continued to shoot poorly in the third, going 7 for 22, yet still led by 11, 63-52, with 2:45 left in the quarter. Minnesota ended the third on an 11-1 run, cutting it to 64-63 heading into the fourth.