Bargnani lifts Raptors over Timberwolves

Amir Johnson knew he had to step up against one of the best rebounders in the NBA if the Toronto Raptors were going to win on Monday.

Toronto 97 Minnesota 87

TORONTO — Amir Johnson knew he had to step up against one of the best rebounders in the NBA if the Toronto Raptors were going to win on Monday.

Johnson scored a season-best 19 points, had 11 rebounds and held Minnesota’s Kevin Love to 13 points on 3-for-16 shooting as Toronto downed the Timberwovles 97-87.

Johnson said it was a matter of being aggressive.

“I know (Love) goes crazy on the boards,” Johnson said. “So I pretty much tried to shut him down, face guard him and just try to get him out of his groove. I think I frustrated him a little bit tonight.”

It was a good game for Johnson, especially since he was suffering from allergies.

Love entered the game averaging 25.4 points a game on 47.1 per cent shooting with an NBA-best 15 rebounds a game. He can also hit three-pointers, hitting five in six attempts against Dallas on Jan. 1.

“He had just had one of those nights,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said, “(Love) is one of the top power forwards in the league. He is a great passer, he sees the floor and he is a heck of an offensive rebounder. He had one of those nights. Amir did an excellent job on him.

“I think our guys did an excellent job of sandwiching him in and keeping a body on him.”

Andrea Bargnani, who led the Raptors with 31 points, agreed with Casey.

“I think Amir did an unbelievable job on Love,” said Bargnani. “He really got him out of the rhythm and he shot the ball really bad. It was great defence. Everybody made an extra effort.”

The scoring by Bargnani and the defensive work by Johnson and others helped Toronto (4-5) maintain its dominance of Minnesota (3-6). The Raptors have won 14 of their past 15 games against the Timberwolves, including eight in a row at Air Canada Centre.

Minnesota has not won in Toronto since Jan. 21, 2004.

Overall, the Timberwolves shot just 33.8 cent on the night while the Raptors shot 44.2 per cent. Toronto also blocked nine shots, four by James Johnson.

“I thought we were way too inconsistent during the course of the game and it cost us,” said Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. “We got down by 12, made a nice comeback, but down the stretch we didn’t defend them well enough and we didn’t execute well enough.”

Bargnani also had nine rebounds for Toronto. Jose Calderon added 14 points and six assists and Leandro Barbosa chipped in with 13 points off the bench.

The Raptors played the first of three games on back-to-back-to-back nights. They will play five games in six nights. It will be the only time Toronto plays on three successive days this season.

J.J. Barea led Minnesota with 16 points while Luke Ridnour and Derrick Williams scored 13 each and Ricky Rubio added 10.

The Timberwolves played the second of their run of back-to-back-to-back games.

The 21-year-old Rubio is a friend and fellow member of Spain’s national team with Calderon. Rubio is still being used from the bench and he has made an impression early in his first NBA season.

Calderon used that familiarty against the younger Spaniard.

“It’s hard to guard him,” said Rubio. “He is smart, tough to play and he showed us one more time he is a great point guard here in the NBA. He controlled the tempo of the game. He scored two shots at the end of the game to kill us.”

Calderon praised Toronto’s tough forwards for their ability to stop Minnesota’s offence.

“The defence was great today,” Calderon said. “Amir (Johnson) and James (Johnson) and all the big guys who had to guard Love tonight were great.”

The Raptors, who were coming of two lacklustre losses — at home to New Jersey and away to Philadelphia — took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

But Minnesota scored the first four points of the fourth to pull even. Then Barea hit a three followed by a layup from Williams to put the Timberwolves ahead 78-75.

The game was tied at 80-80 after Bargnani scored on a driving reverse layup with 6:35 to play. There was no more scoring until Amir Johnson put in the rebound after Bargnani missed a 17-foot jumper to give the Raptors an 82-80 lead with 3:16 to play.

Calderon and Bargnani extended Toronto’s lead to six points with under two minutes to play put the game out of Montreal’s reach.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Most Read