T-wolves try to exorcise demons in Canada

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors have won two of their last three and will try to keep their strong play going Wednesday when the Minnesota Timberwolves visit Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors struggled through much of February and March, but have played better. After a home victory over the Miami Heat and a home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Raptors traveled to Indianapolis and left with a 117-98 victory over the Pacers.

Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and added 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double this season.

Toronto never trailed on its way to a season sweep of Indiana. Lou Williams paced the Raptors with 24 points off the bench, DeMar DeRozan scored 22, and Jonas Valanciunas contributed 14 points and 12 boards.

"That's the best 48 minutes, or close to 48 minutes, we've had in a while," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "We have to continue to keep that focus."

Indiana scored the last six points of the third and trailed 88-81 after 36 minutes, but like all of its earlier runs, it was answered by the Raptors.

Williams opened the fourth with a 3 to extend Toronto's lead back to 10, and the Pacers did not get any closer than nine the rest of the game. Their last field goal came with 6:15 remaining in the game, and the Raptors finished the contest on a 15-5 run.

The Timberwolves have lost five straight, but injuries have ravaged this team. At this point, their injury report is almost as long as their available roster with Anthony Bennett (sprained right ankle), Shabazz Muhammad (finger) and Robbie Hummel (broken right hand) all listed as out.

Kevin Garnett (knee), Nikola Pekovic (right ankle), Ricky Rubio (sprained ankle) and Gary Neal (hand) are all questionable for Wednesday night and all four missed Monday's loss at home to the Brooklyn Nets, 122-106.

Kevin Martin paced Minnesota with 23 points, Zach LaVine netted 20 on a career-high of four 3s, Chase Budinger added 18 and Justin Hamilton contributed 15.

"I told our guys that we weren't going to play zone," said Minnesota coach Flip Saunders. "Sometimes you get your butt kicked. That's part of growing up."

Minnesota's largest lead of the game was one point, and it lasted for just 37 seconds. Adreian Payne hit a runner at 4:37 in the second quarter, and a couple possessions later, Bojan Bogdanovic returned the lead to the Nets for good.

The Timberwolves end their brief road trip Thursday against the New York Knicks in a battle of the two worst teams in the league.

The Raptors have won six straight against Minnesota and 18 of the last 19. The Raptors have won nine in a row as the host and the last time the T-wolves were victorious in Toronto was Jan. 21, 2004.

The two teams will meet in Minnesota on April 1.