Stephanie McMahon Q&A:

Raptors deny Adelman his 1,000th victory

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS - History will have to wait.

The Timberwolves entered Friday's game with Toronto at Target Center knowing a win would give Minnesota coach Rick Adelman 1,000 for his career. But the combination of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan forced Adelman - and the Wolves - to wait at least another day after Toronto's 95-93 victory.

Gay scored 14 of his 26 points and DeRozan 15 of his 25 in the second half as the Raptors, outmuscled by the Wolves most of the evening, made up for it with clutch shooting.

So Adelman remains stuck at 999, and the Raptors continued their recent dominance of the Wolves, winning for the 16th time in the last 17 games between the two.

"I was all for (Adelman) getting 1,000," said Toronto coach Dwane Casey. "Just not tonight.''

Down 94-92, Wolves guard Ricky Rubio rebounded Gay's miss with 5.9 seconds left, raced down the court and was fouled. He went to the line with 1.7 seconds left, making the first free throw but missing the second, sealing Toronto's win.

"The fault was mine on the missed free throw," Rubio said.

The Wolves were led by center Nikola Pekovic's 24 points and Andrei Kirilenko's 20. Rubio finished with 13 points and 12 assists. Minnesota forced the issue much of the night, getting to the free throw line 40 times compared to 16 for Toronto. But late misses were costly. The Wolves missed three of six free throws in the final two-plus minutes.

"They got involved in the second half," Casey said, describing both his team in general and Gay and DeRozan in particular. "They got us going. We gave up way too many buckets in the first half, way too many careless turnovers.''

But the Raptors got better as the game went on.

Toronto led 87-84 after Jonas Valanciunas hit two free throws with 3:48 left. In the next few moments the Wolves appeared ready to retake the game. Pekovic hit two free throws, then the Wolves turned DeRozan's turnover into Dante Cunningham's 16-footer. Gay responded with a 10-foot jumper, but Rubio fed Pekovic for a layup to give the Wovles their last lead of the night, 90-89, with 2:35 left.

Coming out of a time out DeRozan drove, scored and was fouled. He made the free throw to complete the three-point play. After Rubio made one of two free throws at the other end, Gay hit a turnaround jumper for a three-point lead.

The Wolves were unable to come back again.

"I just saw the hole," DeRozan said of the crucial three-point play. "I knew I'd at least get fouled, even if I didn't make the shot. I was just trying to be aggressive."

Gay and DeRozan have been trying to figure out how to play together ever since Gay came to Toronto via trade at the end of January. The two clicked Friday.

"It's definitely a task to learn how to fit in and to know guys and know guys' space," Gay said.

Said Rubio: "Both of them had a good night. They were hitting jump shots and they're athletic. They play good. It's tough for us.''

And so Adelman will try for 1,000 Saturday against Detroit.

"We missed some big ones down the stretch in the fourth quarter there,'' Adelman said. "I think we could have controlled our own destiny if we would have taken care of the job in the fourth quarter."

Notes: Valanciunas was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for March after averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 15 games that month. In the three games before Friday he had averaged 19.6 points and 8.6 rebounds. "He's having fun," Casey said. "That's what this part of the season is for, for him to learn, get experience, get that growth.''... More and more it appears Kevin Love will not play in a game again this season. Love has not played since breaking his right (shooting) hand for a second time Jan. 3 in Denver. He had surgery on Jan. 15. The Wolves announced Friday that Love was once again not cleared for contact. The plan is to give him another examination checkup early next week. But by then the team will be on a road trip with three games in four days, so there would be no practice time for Love even if he were cleared. Still, Adelman would like to see him play, even for just a few games. "But until (he's cleared) it's a moot point," he said. ...Rubio was averaging 14.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 2.64 steals in the 14 games prior to Friday's game.
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