As the Timberwolves trudge onward without Anthony Edwards for an indefinite amount of time, generating offense is likely to be an issue for them.
But slowing down the Raptors on the other end of the floor was their biggest issue in a 122-107 loss Saturday in Toronto.
One might understand why the Wolves were a step slow all night — they got in late to Toronto after playing a two-overtime heartbreaker in Chicago on Friday. But the Wolves have no room for error left the rest of the season, and every loss is a hurtful one, no matter how understandable it may be.
They have now lost five of their last six games and will wrap up their road trip Monday in New York against the Knicks.
They hope to receive some clarity on the length of time Edwards may miss after he has further testing done when the team gets there, a source said.
"We got to keep our head up. Got to keep fighting," coach Chris Finch told reporters in Toronto. "See what we look like and who's available to play come Monday, and got to stay positive right now. That's all we can do."
Edwards was on the bench Saturday, and the Bally Sports Broadcast mentioned he was not wearing a walking boot, as he had been Friday in Chicago.
Fred VanVleet got Toronto going early with 22 of his 28 points in the first half. Pascal Siakam was consistent throughout with 27 points as the Raptors shot 53%. Naz Reid had an explosive night off the bench for the Wolves with 22 points.
"He was great. Bright spot for us for sure," Finch said. "It's good to see him back playing with that pep in his step."
Jaden McDaniels pitched in 18 as the Wolves shot 46%. But the Wolves were lacking three-point shooting. McDaniels was 4-for-6 from three-point range while the rest of the team was just 1-for-17.
"We needed those threes to go in tonight," Finch said. "We made the right play; they didn't go in."
The Wolves held up through the first two and a half quarters before fading toward the end of the third. Then the Raptors ran them off the floor in the fourth. A disastrous bench stint to end the third killed all Wolves momentum as Toronto closed the third on an 11-2 run, taking a nine-point lead into the fourth.
With Edwards out, Finch inserted forward Taurean Prince into the starting lineup. Prince finished 1-for-7, with four points.
The defensive issues were there early on for Minnesota as the Raptors shot 55% in the first half. Jakob Poeltl started by hitting his first five shots, then VanVleet took over.
He shot 8-for-12 in the first half, and perhaps the Wolves also missed the defense of Edwards, who might have been able to help keep VanVleet in check with his on-ball defensive prowess.
The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.