(pics via. Toronto Star, bleacherreport)
"Tonight was my fear,"
said Casey, whose team lost a heart-breaker to the NBA champion Cavaliers Monday
"You look out there and you don't see LeBron James, Kyrie Irving or the Cleveland Cavaliers, the hype is not there.
"I look out there and see talented kids, a talented young team waiting to come in here and attack you. And my nightmare came true in the first three quarters."
The Minnesota Timber wolves are unquestionably talented and are young and very much learning their way in the NBA. They basically are the Toronto Maple Leafs of Hockey. A team with so much talent, so many young players and so many chances to become better. Truly one of my favorite teams to watch as they are the underdogs of the league.
And its not an easy journey when you have to face teams with talented players such as Lebron and Curry in the League. DeMar DeRozan, on the other hand, can understand what Minnesota is going through.
DeRozan said Wednesday before the Timberwolves make their only appearance of the season at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night.
“You gotta go through the tough times to really understand how to win".
A team with last season’s rookie of the year aka my favorite NBA player thus far, Karl-Anthony Towns, the 2014-15 rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins, and the athletic Zach LaVine and a creative point guard in Ricky Rubio is undeniably talented. But age and experience make a huge difference when it comes down to it. Rubio is 26 years old where as Towns, Wiggins and LaVine are all just 21. Regardless of how good they are, they simply don’t know how to win consistently because that only comes with time, and the pain of losing.
“You have to be creative in the ways you structure practice, creative in your ways of presenting game plans when you go in knowing the odds are against you,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “Guys learn, they pick it up, they develop and it takes time. I wish there was a magic wand where you could wave it over a young player and just say “shazam, you’re … a solid NBA player.’ It doesn’t happen over night.”
With that said, the Raptors had put the finishing touches on their comeback win against the Wolves with 1:00 left. The game was in Toronto's hands and there was really no need for DeMarre Carroll to try and break out for a layup. But he did it anyway, and once he missed it.. This is what DeRozan did...
This looked like anybody's game for the first 42 minutes. After the Timberwolves entered the fourth quarter with an 89-88 lead, neither team led by more than three points until Lowry managed a four-point play with 7:17 left.
I mean, it makes sense to why Casey was so nervous about underestimating the Timberwolve. Minnesota have been consistently competitive this season. They entered the Raptors game with only a -1.5 point differential on the season. Still, the Timberwolves have now lost six of their last seven, and their bottom-five defence must be really stressful for head coach Tom Thibodeau.
And lets not forget about Wiggins, he received a nice round of applause during introductions, the Raps and the ACC certainly expected him to bring his best and made some of our players look silly.
In the first quarter he did, taking advantage by outscoring Toronto's entire starting lineup with 11 points, including a 19-foot turnaround fadeaway jumper over Joseph's fingertips and a blow-by baseline dunk that left Ross a little confused. He got in foul trouble and managed 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting the rest of the way.
"He is a great scorer and the more experience he gains, he definitely will become more deadly," DeRozan said of Wiggins. "It's amazing how athletic he is, the spring he has."
The Raptors won 124 - 110 and will be facing Boston on Friday Dec. 9th
PS. DeRozan passed Morris Peterson to become the franchise's all-time leader in games played with 543, days after he passed the 10,000 career points mark.