October 18, 2017, 10:52 pm
The Timberwolves opened up the season in San Antonio with a chance to steal a win with Kawhi Leonard out due to injury. The T-Wolves were in most of the game, even holding a 92-91 lead in the 4th quarter, but they ultimately fell 107-99.
Andrew Wiggins had a nice offensive game going for 26 points, five rebounds, one assist and one turnover. Most encouraging was that he went 4-of-6 from 3-point range and was pulling up without hesitation.
It remains to be seen if this is real (he’s not going to stick at the 60 percent clip), but if he is able to become a reliable 3-point scorer it would really open things up for the Wolves offense.
Karl-Anthony Towns went for 18 points (8-of-15 shooting), 13 rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and two turnovers. He was mostly floating around in the first half, not really engaged in the offense, but this was an issue team wide. In the second half, Towns looked like his normal self hitting some tough shots in the post and making things look easy.
Jimmy Butler was fairly quiet totaling 12 points on 12 shots, with four rebounds, three assists, one steal and three turnovers. There were many times where he was initiating the offense, and he basically serves as another point guard on the floor. He was strong in the pick-and-roll game, hitting Towns for a few dunks inside.
Jeff Teague had a quiet game as well, going for 11 points, two rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block and one turnover, most of his activity coming in the third quarter. He was slow to get going in the first half and didn’t play the entire fourth quarter, ceding minutes to Tyus Jones.
Jones was very active on the court, but didn’t put up much on the stat sheet, scoring only three points, with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Taj Gibson played the bulk of minutes at the PF, and took 11 shots, mostly from mid range or beyond, scoring six points. He wasn’t able to do much to stop LaMarcus Aldridge either. Gibson didn’t play the entire fourth quarter.
Jamal Crawford and Nemanja Bjelica had notable games off the bench. Crawford went for 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting, with three rebounds, five assists, one block and two turnovers.
Bjelica scored nine points with three rebounds and one assist. He was scoreless in his first stint off the bench, but in his second stint he went off after coming in late in the third quarter. Both Crawford and Bjelica were key in the Wolves’ fourth quarter run that netted them a brief lead.
It’s clear that the Wolves need more time with each other and coach Thibodeau’s offense. Most offensive sets came from the pick-and-roll, but outside of that there were a lot of players standing around and isolation dribbling.
Despite some sloppiness and stagnation, putting up 99 points felt like a solid start against a strong defense and a sign that it might not take long for these guys to figure it out.
The Spurs showed what a team that is on the same page looks like tonight. You wouldn’t realize they were playing without their best player. This team is just so tough to defend because any night a different guy can beat you.
The Wolves’ defense was far from perfect though, with guys getting lost in space or giving up offensive rebounds. There is work to be done on both sides.
Minutes wise, Butler and Towns led the way with 35 each, followed by Wiggins with 30. Gibson had 27 minutes while Gorgui Dieng only saw 14 minutes. Teague played 25 minutes, Crawford had 24 minutes and Jones had 23. Bjelica rounded out the rotation with 13.
Looking ahead, the Wolves play this Friday at home against the Utah Jazz, which is Ricky Rubio’s return to Minnesota. The Jazz are coming off a 106-96 win against the Denver Nuggets.
May 20, 2019, 9:59 amTim Connelly - Team - Denver Nuggets
Tim Connelly will remain with the Nuggets as their President of Basketball Operations.
The Wizards were trying to pry Connelly away from the Nuggets after meeting on Friday, but it seems that Connelly likes where he is and wants no part of a decimated Wizards' team.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 20, 2019, 9:52 amRyan Saunders - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves and Ryan Saunders have agreed on a multi-year deal to be the head coach.
Saunders has been an assistant with the Timberwolves since 2014 and was named the interim head coach for Tom Thibodeau after his firing last season. Saunders had a record of 17-25 as head coach, but has been quickly building a reputation of being a player's coach.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
May 20, 2019, 9:41 amGianluca Pascucci - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves have hired Gianluca Pascucci to be their assistant GM.
Pascucci was the director of global scouting for the Nets and has developed a relationship with Timberwolves’ president Gersson Rosas while they were in Houston.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 19, 2019, 11:44 pmFred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet needed stitches to close up a gash under his left eye that he sustained in Sunday's Game 3.
VanVleet ended up going 1-for-11 from the field in 31 minutes, ending up in a major role with Kyle Lowry fouling out with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. He continues to have a terrible offensive postseason, though he did manage to hang tough on the defensive end for the most part. If FVV can get his shot sorted out it would help the Raptors immensely, but him playing this much is not a desirable outcome no matter what.
Source: Josh Lewenberg on Twitter
May 19, 2019, 10:45 pmKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 36 points on 11-of-25 shooting in a game-high 52 minutes of action in a double overtime win over the Bucks in Game 3.
Leonard scored eight points in the second overtime to finish off the win. The Raptors have now made this a competitive series and have a chance to tie it up at two games in Game 4. Leonard shot 2-of-4 from 3-point territory and added nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block to the box score. He will continue to perform well, but the fate of the Raptors rests on the remainder of the team to continuously provide him with support on both ends of the floor.
May 19, 2019, 10:41 pmPascal Siakam - F - Toronto Raptors
Pascal Siakam had a solid stat line on Sunday, with 25 points and 11 rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting in 51 minutes of action in a double overtime win over the Bucks in Game 3.
As expected, Siakam bounced back from his underwhelming Game 2 performance with an absolute gem in Game 3. Siakam is proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in this league as he is not shying away from the game's biggest stage. He added one assist, three steals, one block and three 3-pointers to the stat sheet. The Raptors brought the series within one game and have a chance to even up the series on Tuesday night.
May 19, 2019, 10:37 pmMarc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol put up 16 points with 12 rebounds and five blocks in a Game 3 win over the Bucks in double overtime on Sunday.
He added seven assists and one steal to the box score in his 45 minutes of action. He shot 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. This was Gasol's first good game of the series and the Raptors won, so it is safe to say that he can be considered an X-factor for them. The Raptors have a chance to even up the series in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
May 19, 2019, 10:33 pmKyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry put up 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting with four rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter in a Game 3 win over the Bucks on Sunday.
The Raptors brought the series within one game and Lowry's solid play in regulation helped them pull out the win. Fred VanVleet, who had three points on 1-of-11 shooting, filled in for Lowry in the overtimes and ultimately played well enough for the Raptors to win. Although Lowry receives extensive criticism for his lackluster playoff performances, he is an integral part of the Raptors' team success.
May 19, 2019, 10:29 pmNorman Powell - F/G - Toronto Raptors
Norman Powell put up a playoff-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 30 minutes of action before fouling out in a 118-112 double overtime win in Game 3 on Sunday.
There were some rumors prior to the game that Powell would get an increased role for Game 3, and this turned out to be true as he played 30 minutes before the game even reached the first overtime. He thrived in his increased opportunity and was hitting some key shots down the stretch. He added four rebounds, three assists, three 3-pointers and one steal to the box score.
May 19, 2019, 10:24 pmBrook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks
Brook Lopez had a solid performance in Game 3 on Sunday as he put up 16 points and six rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting in a loss to the Raptors in double overtime.
Lopez has shown up for the Bucks in this series, but he was not able to lead them to a win like he did in Game 1. He added one assist, two steals and three triples to the box score. Lopez has played Marc Gasol very tough in this series, which has forced the Raptors to consider lineup changes. The play of Lopez should not go unnoticed in the overall spectrum of why the Bucks are as good as they are.