Timberwolves look to run roughshod over reeling Raptors

The Minnesota Timberwolves will go for their second win in as many nights when they tip off against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota (52-23) is coming off a 113-106 victory at home against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. It marked the Timberwolves’ fifth win in the past six games and eighth in their last 10.

Naz Reid will look to stay hot for the Timberwolves. He scored a team-high 25 points in Tuesday’s win and has played a key role in Minnesota’s recent success despite the injury absence of Karl-Anthony Towns (torn meniscus).

The 24-year-old Reid has emerged as a fan favorite in Minnesota. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2019 and is 17 points shy of recording his first 1,000-point season.

“I’m just putting my best effort in,” Reid said. “Every day, every night, just working. I’m just trying to compete and get a championship.”

The mood is much gloomier for Toronto (23-52), which has lost 14 games in a row — including 128-111 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. Toronto’s most recent victory came March 3 against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Raptors’ franchise record for consecutive losses is 17, set during the 1997-98 season. Toronto needs a win against either Minnesota, the Milwaukee Bucks (Friday) or the Washington Wizards (Sunday) in its next three games to avoid matching the record.

Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic acknowledged some positive news amid a negative season. He praised the return on Tuesday of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, both of whom had missed multiple games after dealing with personal losses.

Barrett scored 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting from the field on Tuesday in his first game since March 11. Quickley finished with 20 points in his first game since March 17.

“It was great to see them out there,” Rajakovic said. “Both of them enjoyed being on the court and being able to do what they loved to do. … They brought some new energy. (I was) very happy to see them back.”

One night after failing to slow LeBron James and the Lakers, the Raptors will try to contain one of the NBA’s most explosive young players in Anthony Edwards.

Edwards provided another highlight-reel play Tuesday when he drove to the rim and threw down a violent dunk in the final minute against the Rockets. He finished with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

However, Edwards’ recent struggles from beyond the arc continued. He missed all six of his attempts from 3-point range on Tuesday to drop to 0-for-19 in his last three games.

Reid said he has full confidence that Edwards will break out of his shooting slump.

“I was telling him during the game, ‘Bro, you’re going to get it going. You get enough shots to where you don’t need to worry about that type of stuff,'” Reid said. “He’s fine, we’re fine. I think we’re all going to be great.”

Minnesota is 27-10 at home this season; Toronto is 10-26 on the road.