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Surging Raptors Beat Timberwolves 111-104

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(credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

(credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Lowry had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth career triple-double, lifting the Toronto Raptors to a 111-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

DeMar DeRozan added 25 points and seven rebounds and Steve Novak hit five 3-pointers for the surprising Raptors, who have won nine of their last 11 games to climb to third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto shot 58.3 percent (14 for 24) on 3-pointers.

Kevin Love had 26 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Minnesota has started a crucial four-game homestand with two losses in three games, and the team’s hopes of climbing from 10th in the West into the playoff picture are looking bleak.

The Raptors got some bad news early in the day when they learned Patrick Patterson, a key member of the bench during their post-Rudy Gay trade surge, would miss the next seven to 10 days with a sprained right elbow. But just as they have done over the last two months, the Raptors found someone else to step up.

Novak had played less than 13 minutes over the last month, but he scored a season-high in 18 minutes and Terrence Ross (15), Amir Johnson (15) and Greivis Vasquez (12) all reached double figures in scoring as well to earn a tough road win.

The Wolves entered the game five games behind Dallas and Phoenix for the eighth and final spot in the West. They’ve now lost two of the first three games of a crucial four-game homestand.

They put up a fight in this one, trimming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to 93-91 with five minutes to play. But Lowry drilled a 3-pointer, the Raptors locked down the Timberwolves’ offense with the kind of defense that has gotten them this far and DeRozan finished the Wolves off with a 3-pointer from the left wing to improve Toronto to 26-2 when leading after three quarters.

The Wolves’ bench has struggled for much of the year, and it did again in the first half on Tuesday. When Love sat down for a rest, the Raptors blasted Minnesota with a 15-0 run to take a 46-33 lead. That prompted coach Rick Adelman to go back to his star forward much earlier than he usually does.

Love ended the run with a jumper, controlled the glass and fed Pekovic three straight times with pinpoint entry passes for easy buckets. He also drew a charge and fed Dante Cunningham for a layup during a 17-2 run that gave Minnesota a 50-48 lead.

DeRozan and Ross both went to the bench early in the third quarter when they each picked up their fourth fouls and that’s when Lowry took over. He was tenacious in his attack, hitting two jumpers and feeding Vasquez for a 3 to put Toronto up 75-68. He also played a big role in getting Wolves point guards Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea in foul trouble with his aggressive penetration.

The Raptors’ reserves outscored Minnesota’s 32-16 for the game.

NOTES: Love made four 3-pointers, including one in the third quarter that broke Rashad McCants’ franchise record for 3s in a season. McCants made 142 3-pointers in 2007-08 to set the previous franchise record. … Barea had another tough night, going 2 for 8 for five points. … The Raptors recalled Dwight Buycks from the NBDL’s Bakersfield Jam on Sunday.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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