for this game

Raptors' rally jars Timberwolves

Feb 11, 2009 - 4:55 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Toronto Raptors were dazed and abused by the Minnesota Timberwolves at the end of the second quarter Tuesday. They felt obliged to turn the tables in the game's final 12 minutes.

The Raptors overcame a 17-0 run that bridged the second and third quarters to rally for a 110-102 victory over the Timberwolves.

Both teams were lacking star power as All-Star Chris Bosh sat out for Toronto with a sprained right knee and Al Jefferson - who should have been an All-Star - most likely is lost to Minnesota for the rest of the season with a torn right ACL.

Andrea Bargnani hit a 19-foot jumper and followed with a shot from beyond the arc to give Toronto a 96-91 lead, and the Raptors never looked back, outscoring Minnesota, 37-22, in the fourth quarter.

"I thought we got out and ran a little bit, beat them down the court a couple times and shared the basketball," Toronto coach Jay Triano said. "The ball was moving and we were shooting a high percentage but different guys were touching it."

Jermaine O'Neal liked the rhythm the Raptorts found when they were rolling.

"We are a lot better team when we move the ball and get everybody involved," O'Neal said. "We tend to take quick shots and that tends to put us in a touch position not only offensively but defensively as well."

Joey Graham scored 24 points to lead Toronto, which snapped a six-game losing streak. O'Neal added 10 of his 22 in the final 4:03 to help seal the victory, while Bargnani and reserve Jason Kapono chipped in with 18 apiece.

Kapono understands his role.

"I think I just come into the game and just try to make an impact," he said. "I try to find my shot and I'm looking for my shot, I think guys sense that and we are just a much better team when everyone has the mindset of try to look to score but also looking to make plays."

Kevin Love had his hands full trying to contain O'Neal.

"You guys can imagine going up against a guy like Jermaine O'Neal who has been a perennial All-Star," the rookie Love said.

"He was a superstar at one point and he was going after another young fella. I was trying to stop him, felt like I did a good job the first three and a half quarters but he kind of took over down the stretch."

Minnesota, which lost its fourth straight, was paced by Randy Foye with a career-high 33 points and Ryan Gomes with 17. Love tried to fill Jefferson's absence and delivered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

"Regardless of having Al or not we can't give up 69 points in the second half," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said after seeing his team lit up after the break.

It took the Timberwolves about a quarter and a half before they shook the shock of losing Jefferson.

The Raptors took advantage of Minnesota's sluggish state early and often, surging to a 35-27 lead on O'Neal's jumper with 7:20 left in the second quarter.

The Timberwolves then got it in gear and went on a 22-6 run to take a 48-41 advantage at the half.

Foye led the charge, scoring 13 of his 17 points in the spurt. Foye mixed it up, hitting two 3-pointers, a layup and a dunk amid the burst.

The Wolves added another basket to open the second half before Graham snapped the run at 17-0 with a layup.

The Raptors didn't go away, battling back and even taking an 84-82 lead in the fourth quarter before Foye responded with another 3-pointer to put Minnesota back in front.

"We didn't know what types of changes they would make offensively other than that they are a good team trying to break you down and get into the paint," Triano said.

"Offensively, we wanted to make sure we went inside. We tried to go inside as much as we could. Kevin Love is going to be a great player but I didn't know how he was going to be able to handle Jermaine and we were going to try and put inside against him as much as we could."