October 30, 2017, 11:39 am
The Timberwolves hit the road to Miami after another thrilling victory over the Thunder on Friday.
Jimmy Butler’s return to the lineup was a huge bolt of energy for the wavering Wolves after losing two straight without him. After a couple of days off, Butler should be at 100 percent, which is great news because he was excellent on Friday while still under the weather.
Karl-Anthony Towns is sick, but he is expected to play. He claims that he’s not suffering from the same ailment that knocked Butler out for two games. It does seem like a bug is traveling through the Wolves’ locker room though.
The Wolves are still struggling on the defensive side of the ball, allowing an NBA high in opponent field-goal percentage (51.7 percent), opponent effective field-goal percentage (57.5 percent) and opponent true-shooting percentage (60.1 percent).
Effective field goal percentage adds more weight for three-point field goals, accounting for the fact they are worth 50 percent more than two-point shots. True shooting percentage is a comprehensive shooting statistic that accounts for all shot forms (two-point, three-point and free throw) and emphasizes efficiency.
Basically, if it isn’t clear yet, the Wolves aren’t proficient in defending any area of the court. They have quite the hill to climb before they reach respectable numbers, and they won’t be able to make major jumps in the standings until they do so.
Luckily, the Heat aren’t an offensive juggernaut. They have been trending in the wrong direction since the start of the season, scoring fewer points in each game since the second of the season, which also happens to coincide with Hassan Whiteside’s absence. Whiteside is not going to play tonight.
In their most recent game, after scoring only 90 points, the Heat players openly questioned the team’s offensive identity. The team is hoping to avoid a start to the season like last year, where they went 11-30 before going on a tear to finish the season 41-41.
It seems rather early to fear those types of results, but for Heat players to be admitting it’s on their mind shows the desperate state they are in at the moment. The Heat have been juggling lineups nearly every game, trying to find the right combination of players.
This could be a prime chance for the Wolves, after two off-days, to steal a win on the road. It’s a game they should probably take, at least on-paper. Then again, they were supposed to come away with at least one victory against the last two Eastern Conference foes they faced and that didn’t go according to plan.
– Teague vs. Dragic
– Gibson vs. J.Johnson
The leading scorer and team veteran leader of the Heat, Dragic will likely be the center of attention for the Wolves’ defensive gameplan. It’s possible Butler will see some time on Dragic if Tyler Johnson shares some court time, but Teague will have the bulk of time on him defensively.
Miami has a number of talented scorers on the roster, but Dragic has been among the most consistent thus far. If Teague is able to slow him down, the offense could sputter for the Heat once again, giving the Wolves an ample opportunity.
Offensively for Teague, Dragic had a long summer playing in Europe and was brought along slowly by the Heat in training camp to limit his work load. While he’s in mid-season form offensively, his legs might be a little more tired defensively.
Meanwhile at the power forward position, Gibson will have his hands full with the active James Johnson. Johnson is still a mostly unheralded player around the majority of the NBA, but he is a player in a similar mold to Draymond Green.
Johnson is an athletic forward, able to guard centers and wing players on occasion. Often, he’s the loudest player on defense, issuing commands to his teammates. He’s a willing facilitator on offense, with an ability to stretch out the floor, though to start this season his deep ball has not fallen (just 3-of-17 on three-pointers).
Gibson is an athletic player himself, but Johnson will be a tough matchup for him on both sides of the floor.
Justin Patton (foot) – OUT
Karl-Anthony Towns (illness) – PROBABLE
Wayne Ellington (illness) – QUESTIONABLE
Rodney McGruder (leg) – OUT
Hassan Whiteside (knee) – OUT
Where to watch:
7:30 ET/6:30 CT on Fox Sports North
February 20, 2019, 11:43 pmAustin Rivers - G - Houston Rockets
Austin Rivers (sore right elbow) is being listed as probable for Friday's tilt vs. the Lakers.
Rivers has taken a step back ever since Chris Paul came back from his injury and has been posting value outside the top-200. As long as the Rockets' starting guards are healthy, Rivers can be left on the wire.
February 20, 2019, 11:34 pmTyus Jones - G - Minnesota Timberwolves
Tyus Jones, who is expected to practice on Thursday, says that he won't have restrictions once he's back, which could be on Friday vs. the Knicks.
Jones' return is something to watch especially by managers in deep leagues. He's been known to be a viable stream target for steals. That said, as long as Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose are healthy, Jones is not an option in standard leagues.
Source: Julian Andrews on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 8:28 pmTrey Lyles - F - Denver Nuggets
Trey Lyles hobbled off the court during the Nuggets' practice on Wednesday, so consider him questionable for Friday's game vs. the Mavs.
Lyles has not held much value while Paul Millsap is healthy and active and this news does not help his short-term outlook. You can consider dropping him in deep leagues for a more promising FA.
Source: Harrison Wind on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 8:22 pmGary Harris - G - Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris, who has missed the Nuggets' last seven games due to a right adductor strain, is available to play vs. the Mavs on Friday.
Harris has had a rocky 2018-19 season to say the least, dealing with an assortment of injuries that have kept him off the floor for multiple games. Hopefully, he can finally stay healthy for the second half of the season. He has a top-30 upside when at 100 percent health, so feel free to slot him in your active lineups.
Source: Christian Clark on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 8:16 pmEmanuel Terry - PF - Miami Heat
The Heat have signed undrafted D2 All-American forward Emanuel Terry to a 10-day contract.
Terry played in nine games for the Heat's G-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season and posted averages of 16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He's currently not someone worth picking up in fantasy leagues.
Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 7:50 pmTroy Brown Jr. - F - Washington Wizards
According to Candace Buckner, Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr., who missed the last several games due to an ankle injury, has been looking "fresh and spry" while going through a shooting drill.
Brown has not made much of an impact in fantasy this season, but with the Wizards out of the playoff race, we could see Brown get some run. He's worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues for now.
Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 7:42 pmEmmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks
Coach David Fizdale said that he's open to Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) and Dennis Smith Jr. together in the backcourt.
This would make for an interesting albeit the most inefficient scoring backcourt in the league. Even if Mudiay does share the floor with DSJ, he's not going to bring enough fantasy juice to worth an add outside of very deep leagues.
Source: Ian Begley on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 7:38 pmRobin Lopez - C - Chicago Bulls
Coach Jim Boylen said "We have not discussed a diminished role for him at all" in reference to Robin Lopez, who was shut own post-ASB last season.
Lopez looks like he'll be sticking it out with the rest of the Bulls starters until further notice. He's good for some points and boards with reasonable field goal shooting but that's about it. As long as you're not expecting to be wowed, Ro-Lo is a decent pickup in 16-team leagues or deeper. Cristiano Felicio is a drop as he won't hold value while Lopez is in play.
Source: KC Johnson on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 6:42 pmKris Dunn - G - Chicago Bulls
Kris Dunn (back contusion) is on track to play on Friday after going through Wednesday's practice.
Dunn missed the last game before the All-Star break but wasn't expected to miss any further time. Ryan Arcidiacono will move back to a bench role going forward.
Source: Mike McGraw on Twitter
February 20, 2019, 6:40 pmEmmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks
Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) will return to the lineup on Friday against the Wolves.
Mudiay won't be usurping Dennis Smith Jr.'s starting role, so he'll likely have to settle for battling with Frank Ntilikina for backup minutes. He's safe to cut in the vast majority of fantasy leagues.
Source: Zach Braziller on Twitter