• 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.

Fantasy News

  • Ben Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

    Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.

    Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.

  • Rodions Kurucs - F - Brooklyn Nets

    After missing the Nets' last game with a left elbow strain, Rodions Kurucs took to the court in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and posted 10 points (4-of-9 shooting), four boards, five dimes and two triples in 16 minutes for Team World.

    It's a once in a lifetime experience and it was good to see Kurucs healthy enough to make an appearance. He's been a low-end asset in fantasy thanks to his lack of consistent production but is one to watch especially if you're in deep keeper or dynasty leagues as he's shown some flashes of upside when he's had the chance to shine.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) is "very, very close" to a return and the Celtics would not be opposed to him playing in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving made the trip to Charlotte with his personal trainer a the team's physical therapist. Although he's missed the last two games, the Celtics wouldn't mind him participating in Sunday's game and Danny Ainge things that an exhibition contest might actually function as a good workout. Brad Stevens speculated that Irving would've been able to play on Friday or Saturday had the Celtics had a regular game, so it sounds like he won't miss much more time.

    Source: Boston Herald

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) is unsure of how he'll fit into the rotation when he returns from his injury.

    Mudiay was locked in as the starting point guard but Dennis Smith Jr. has since joined the team. Beyond that, Mudiay is also an impending free agent whose cap hold will be renounced if the Knicks do deliver on their wildest dreams and land two max free agents. He's not going to be a priority for the rest of the season, and a timeshare seems like the best-case scenario here. Mudiay isn't worth holding onto outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have fired GM Dell Demps.

    Since this news broke it's come out that Demps had been on thin ice in New Orleans for a while now, so it's not as though the Anthony Davis trade discussions — which certainly play a role here — were the root cause. It's more likely that the failure to surround Davis with enough talent that he'd want to stay, at least up until the last season and a half or so, was the bulk of the problem. The Pelicans want a new GM to take the helm and make the call on a final Davis trade, which will change the course of the franchise for years to come.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a muscle contusion in his left shoulder after undergoing an MRI.

    Davis' injury is reportedly "not too bad" but he didn't return to Thursday's game and the Pelicans might milk any chance they get to rest their star. His participation in Sunday's All-Star game is up in the air and he'll receive treatment over the next couple of days before determining if he can play. To add some fuel to the fire here, Davis reportedly left the building after he got hurt, which is likely to rub his teammates the wrong way considering they picked up a big win over a hot Thunder team. The saga will continue to unfold until the offseason.

    Source: Ramona Shelburne on Twitter

  • Jrue Holiday - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans in their 131-122 win over the Thunder on Thursday with 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers.

    Holiday crushed the box score tonight and he's going to continue to do so as long as he's on the court. He's the best player on a Pelicans team that might shelve Anthony Davis (shoulder) so an early-round value with some top-15 upside is well within reason.

  • Kenrich Williams - G/F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Kenrich Williams scored nine points while corralling a team-high 12 rebounds to go with four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Williams went 4-for-7 from the floor and saw 34 minutes of action on Thursday and is also going to benefit from Anthony Davis (shoulder) missing time. His rebounding numbers are most of his value, but he also has the potential to give you a triple-one like tonight. It's baffling that he didn't get drafted as he has the talent to play in the NBA and is a standard-league player as of now.

  • Julius Randle - F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Julius Randle led the Pelicans in scoring on Thursday with 33 points on 11-of-21 shooting while adding 11 boards, six assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Randle's been playing well with Anthony Davis (shoulder) out of the lineup and it looks like that run might continue. Keep him out there as he's now an integral part of the Pelicans offense.