There aren’t many compelling subplots in a contest between the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves these days. A Chris Bosh matchup with Al Jefferson would certainly top the list if they weren’t both hurt.
The Raptors, losers of six straight, will likely be without Bosh on Tuesday night as they try to extend an eight-game winning streak over a lowly Timberwolves team that will be without Jefferson for an extended period of time.
On Sunday night, Jefferson had to be helped off the court in the final 30 seconds as Minnesota (17-33) lost 101-97 to New Orleans.
Jefferson, who is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 23.1 points and 11 boards per game, landed awkwardly on his right leg after attempting to block a dunk attempt. He is out indefinitely with a torn ACL in his right knee, and a date for surgery has not been set.
“This is an unfortunate situation for Al and we wish him a quick recovery,” said Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale in a prepared statement.
Bosh, who leads the Raptors with 22.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, has missed two straight contests. With the All-Star out, the Raptors lost their sixth straight Saturday night, 78-70 against Memphis.
Joey Graham has started in place of Bosh, scoring a total of 17 points in two games.
“We really need him back,” Toronto forward Jamario Moon said of Bosh. “I can’t wait for him to get back.”
Toronto (19-34) continues to slide in the Eastern Conference, losing 13 of 16. Minnesota, meanwhile, is one of the league’s worst teams and has had no success against the Raptors in recent years, losing eight straight in the series since a 108-97 win on Jan. 21. 2004.
Toronto is coming off its third straight loss on the road, where it is 10-19 on the season.
“We have to start winning because we are playing very bad,” Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani said.
Toronto has scored 85 points or fewer in three games during its current six-game skid, and turned in its worst offensive performance of the season in its last outing.
The Raptors shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field versus the Grizzlies. They also had their lowest point total since a 92-66 loss to Memphis on Nov. 30, 2005.
Toronto missed its first 13 shots from beyond the arc, and finished 5-for-23 (21.7 percent). In their previous two games, the Raptors connected on 44.8 percent (13-for-29) of their attempts from long range.
The Timberwolves have lost three straight at home after winning six of their previous seven and have dropped six of seven overall. Their top scorer without Jefferson is Randy Foye, but he is averaging just 15.0 points on 28.6 percent shooting in five games this month after averaging 19.4 points in January.