VanVleet helps Rap­tors rally past Tim­ber­wolves

Lethbridge Herald - - HERALD SPORTS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — TORONTO

If Fred VanVleet was tired after the birth of his daugh­ter Sanaa Marie, it didn’t show.

Ar­riv­ing at Air Canada Cen­tre an hour be­fore tipoff and on a few hours of sleep, VanVleet had 10 points in 21:19 of play as the Toronto Rap­tors ral­lied to a 109104 win over the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves on Tues­day.

VanVleet was es­pe­cially big in the fourth quar­ter, turn­ing Min­nesota’s de­fence in­side out on an as­sist to DeMar DeRozan and box­ing out Tim­ber­wolves cen­tre Karl-An­thony Towns — who is nearly a foot taller than him — on one of the fi­nal pos­ses­sions of the game.

“I’m only tak­ing ques­tions ad­dressed to me as ‘dad.’ Y’all have to talk to me dif­fer­ent now,” said VanVleet. “Peo­ple who have kids or who have gone through the process of hav­ing kids, they know. They know. It all just blends to­gether as one big day.”

DeRozan fin­ished with 23 points and eight as­sists and Kyle Lowry scored 15 with nine as­sists as Toronto (34-15) ral­lied to a win. Cen­tre Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas had a dou­ble­dou­ble with 18 points and 11 re­bounds. CJ Miles, typ­i­cally the Rap­tors’ best player off the bench, missed the game with sore­ness in his right knee.

Jimmy But­ler led Min­nesota (32-22) with 25 points, five re­bounds and six as­sists. Cana­dian An­drew Wig­gins scored 15 with eight re­bounds as the Tim­ber­wolves lost their 14th straight game at Air Canada Cen­tre.

It looked like Min­nesota would snap that skid, lead­ing 27-19 after the first quar­ter, then 57-51 at half­time.

“In the first half we were soft as tis­sue,” said Rap­tors head coach Dwane Casey. “We re­ally didn’t have a phys­i­cal­ity, wasn’t into who we were guard­ing.

“We were kind of watch­ing.”

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