VanVleet helps Raptors rally past Timberwolves
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.”