Newspaper article The Canadian Press

DeRozan Scores 17 in Raptors' Pre-Season Loss to Minnesota Timberwolves

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

DeRozan Scores 17 in Raptors' Pre-Season Loss to Minnesota Timberwolves

Article excerpt

Raptors drop pre-season game to T'Wolves

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TORONTO - Rudy Gay launched a long lob to a soaring DeMar DeRozan, who finished with huge one-handed dunk early in the third quarter Wednesday.

The Toronto Raptors dropped a 101-89 pre-season decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the highlight-reel connection between the two athletic Raptors was perhaps a promise of more to come for the two who've now had the benefit of some time playing together.

"It's going good, I know where his sweet spots are, and vice versa," said DeRozan, who topped Toronto (1-1) with 17 points.

"We're just trying to put it together, especially when we need to get a bucket, and be aggressive, and get other teams in the penalty. That's one thing we're trying to do."

Gay finished with 11 points.

"We're trying to get in the rhythm of the offence, being aggressive, trying to create for others, trying to get that down pat," DeRozan said.

New Raptor Tyler Hansbrough had nine points and seven rebounds, while Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and five boards and Kyle Lowry had eight points to go with four assists.

Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic had 12 points and eight boards and J.J. Barea added 12 points.

It's a new season under a new general manager in Masai Ujiri, but there is stability in the Raptors' starting five that didn't exist at this time last year. All five are returnees compared to a year ago when three of the starting five were newcomers.

Added to that, Gay was acquired during the mid-season trade that sent Jose Calderon to Detroit, and had to learn on the job without the benefit of training camp or pre-season.

Together, DeRozan and Gay can open up space for each other, and pose a huge threat to opponents' defences, who have to decide who's the more important player to focus on.

Apart from the alley-oop, Wednesday's game at the Air Canada Centre was typical pre-season, not a pretty performance for either team, featuring mis-timed alley-oops and sloppy turnovers. …

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