TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam keeps telling teammate OG Anunoby to improve his offence output by thinking less on the court.
Anunoby must not have thought much during yesterday’s game against Minnesota.
Anunoby scored a career-high 25 points and matched his career best with 12 rebounds, Kyle Lowry had 27 points and 11 assists, and the Raptors extended their franchise-record winning streak to 15 by beating the Timberwolves 137-126.
“Most of the time you can kind of see that he’s thinking too much and he’s not just playing freely,” Siakam said of Anunoby.
“Every time he just goes out and plays – once you’re open, shoot it, you’re not open drive it – he always has a good game. You’ve got to keep it simple, and he did tonight.”
Anunoby connected on 10 of 13 attempts, going three of four from three-point range, and picked up his fifth double-double of the season.
Toronto are 4-0 when Anunoby scores 20 or more.
“I thought his decisions were really, really good tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
Siakam scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a season-high 21 and Fred VanVleet added 16 as the Raptors won their 16th straight home meeting with Minnesota.
Lowry returned after missing last Saturday’s win over Brooklyn because of whiplash, but centre Serge Ibaka sat because of flu-like symptoms. Hollis-Jefferson started for Ibaka.
D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points in his Minnesota debut and Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Timberwolves couldn’t build on last Saturday’s surprise victory over the Clippers that snapped a 13-game losing streak.
Russell, who didn’t play last Saturday because of a right quad contusion, said he had enjoyed his first game playing alongside his pal Towns and the rest of the new-look Timberwolves.
“It was great,” Russell said. “Super excited about this group.”
Jarrett Culver, Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez scored 15 apiece for the Timberwolves, who have lost five straight against Toronto.
Minnesota had a season-worst 23 turnovers, leading to 34 points for the Raptors.
“Your turnovers are as good as 2s and 3s for them, the way they push the ball and the way they can score in the open court,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said.
Toronto wasn’t much better at taking care of the ball. The Raptors committed 20 turnovers, four shy of their season-worst total. The Timberwolves scored 26 points off Toronto miscues.
Minnesota trailed 106-94 through three quarters but former Raptor James Johnson made two three-pointers as the Timberwolves opened the fourth with a 12-2 run, cutting it to 108-106 with 9:07 left.
That was as close as Minnesota would get. Chris Boucher and Siakam scored to push Toronto’s lead back to six points, and VanVleet and Patrick McCaw hit three-pointers on either side of Towns’ free throw to make it 120-109 with 5:28 remaining.
Toronto connected on eight straight field goals to begin the game before Hollis-Jefferson missed a hook shot with 8:03 to play in the opening quarter. Lowry scored 14 points in the first and Siakam shot four for four and scored 10 points as the Raptors led 40-36.
Minnesota took its first lead of the game on a layup by Hernangomez with 6:24 left in the second quarter. The Timberwolves led 75-74 at halftime.