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Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh drives to the basket against Minnesota Timberwolves' Oleksiy Pecherov, left, and Al Jefferson in Toronto, December 8, 2009. (MARK BLINCH)
Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh drives to the basket against Minnesota Timberwolves' Oleksiy Pecherov, left, and Al Jefferson in Toronto, December 8, 2009. (MARK BLINCH)

Throwback Raptors win one ugly Add to ...

It was classic jersey night, and the Toronto Raptors went all out.

Not only did they wear the blue and white of the Toronto Huskies, the Raptors put on an old-school display of shooting and scoring, too.

In only one sense did the Raptors/Huskies fail to follow the throwback script: The latest incarnation won their matchup with the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 94-88 to extend their winning streak to three games and improve their overall mark to 10-13.

A steal and a breakaway dunk by Hedo Turkoglu and a three-pointer by Antoine Wright on consecutive possessions in the last 90 seconds helped salt away the game after Minnesota (3-19) had lopped away an 11-point third quarter lead.

The Raptors were led by Chris Bosh who had 21 points and 18 rebounds while the four other starters - Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Jarrett Jack (starting in place of Jose Calderon, out with a sore hip) - all had at least 14 points.

But it wasn't pretty. Toronto shot just 32 per cent from the floor and 2-of-21 from the three-point line. Minnesota shot just 37 per cent and 3-of-16 from deep. Wright's triple was the only shot he made all game and a rare three for the small forward who is shooting just 12-of-42 on the year.

None of this bothered Raptors head coach Jay Triano, who has had his team hold opponents to under 40-per-cent shooting for three straight games.

"I think it was beautiful," Triano said of the brickfest. "I wouldn't take away any of the shots we took. It seemed like their was a lid on the basket [but]we told our guys in training camp that if you play good defence even on nights when you struggle to make shots you can stay in games long enough to win."

The Toronto Huskies were a charter member of the Basketball Association of America, which was founded in 1946 and merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 to form the NBA.

On Nov. 1 1946, they lost what is considered the first game in NBA history, 68-66 to the visiting New York Knicks.

In that era, low-scoring games with shooting percentages in the mid-30s were the norm. Of course, as Gino Sovran, the native of Windsor, Ont., and the lone surviving member of the Huskies noted last night: "We didn't have a gym to practice in. Now they have shoot-arounds and all of that. These guys probably shoot more in a day than we did in a month."

Not that you could tell as the Raptors threatened to make the ultimate tribute to old-time basketball by playing as if the three-point line didn't exist. Toronto didn't make one until there was just over four minutes left to play in the game and Andrea Bargnani sank one.

Toronto made up for it by making their way to the free-throw line in copious amounts. They ended up making 40-of-48 attempts compared the Minnesota's 19-for-23.

Rookie Demar DeRozan did his part making all seven of his attempts in his 24 minutes as he continued his stretch of strong play.

"It's like figuring out how to talk to a girl - you finally know what to say. I have an infatuation with the line," he said. "I just want to get there; it's easy points."

There were more parallels between the old and the new.

The Huskies franchise was started by some Bay Street types along with the blessing of the Toronto Maples Leafs, who were looking for a tenant for Maple Leaf Gardens.

"We didn't get to play at home Saturday nights," said Sorvan, who turns 85 next week and was honoured at centre court before the game. The Raptors don't either, but they don't have to spend the nights after games taking taxi cabs to Buffalo to catch a train for their next game. Last night, it was a private charter to Milwaukee where the Raptors will try to win on the second night of a back-to-back for just the second time this year.

Triano didn't know if Calderon would play, and at the prospect of Jack being hurt - he said he got the wind knocked out of him late in the fourth quarter when Kevin Love landed on him - the coach said: "He's not allowed to be hurt, we have a game tomorrow. I'm not going to even ask him."

More similarities between old and new? Lack of fan interest sunk the Huskies after one season. The Raptors are long way from that, but with only 15,167 on hand at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto has failed to draw 16,000 for two home games in a row.


NOTES DeMar DeRozan came into last night's game averaging 12.8 points a game over his last five starts and riding a streak of three straight games in double figures while shooting 48.8 per cent from the field. He had 15 points last night to extend his double-figures scoring streak to four games. … Jonny Flynn, a former Syracuse star and a product of Niagara Falls, N.Y., started at point guard for Minnesota. He had a loud cheering section on hand. … Before the Raptors' two-game winning streak, they had given up at least 100 points in regulation 12 straight games. … Coming into the game, Toronto was 6-0 when it held its opponents to fewer than 100 points. … Minnesota won its first game of the season, lost 15 straight, and had since won two of its last four.

NEXT Tonight at Milwaukee against the Bucks, 8 p.m. Eastern.

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