OTTAWA — Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and three rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Toronto Raptors 89-87 in pre-season play Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.
The two teams were in Ottawa as part of the fourth annual NBA Canada Series. The fifth and final stop is in Montreal on Thursday night as the Raptors take on the Washington Wizards at the Bell Centre.
This was the second of back-to-back games for the two teams with the Raptors winning both contests.
The 15,522 on hand were clearly cheering for the Raptors, but there was no denying the enthusiasm for Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins, a Toronto native.
James Johnson and Delon Wright both had 11 points for Toronto, while Anthony Bennett led the Raptors at the half with nine points and finished with 10.
DeMar DeRozan returned to the Toronto lineup after getting a rest Monday against Minnesota.
Wiggins had 11 points for Minnesota, while Tayshaun Prince scored 13.
The Raptors took the lead in the opening minutes of the game and appeared poised to walk away with the victory, but the Timberwolves finished strong.
After trailing the entire game Minnesota took its first lead, 80-79, with four minutes remaining in the game and never looked back as some strong defensive play allowed them to take the win.
Toronto held a 15-point lead, 63-48, midway through the third and while the Timberwolves were able to cut that lead to three in the final minutes of the quarter they were never able to complete the comeback as the Raptors ended the quarter leading 67-60.
Toronto led 25-23 after the first quarter and stretched the lead to 11 points at the half leading 54-43.
The Timberwolves managed to tie the game 32-32 midway through the second, but the Raptors went on to score eight unanswered points.
Notes: Raptors G Terrence Ross did not make the trip to Ottawa due to a sore left ankle. Former member of the Raptors and Timberwolves Chauncey Billups was on hand for the game and given an Ottawa Senators jersey.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press