October 24, 2017, 11:30 am
Coming off a thrilling, last second victory in Oklahoma City, the Timberwolves return home to take on the Indiana Pacers.
Andrew Wiggins will look to continue his hot streak. He’s averaging 24.7 points per game, and has been hot from beyond the arc, shooting a career best 42.1 percent, while taking nearly twice as many more per game than last season. His defense has also looked better in the three short games so far.
Will this be the game Jimmy Butler breaks out? So far the Wolves haven’t needed Butler’s offense as much as his defense, but as the season wears on he’s going to need to come around. It’s not a concern at this time, though he seems to be the last newcomer yet to break out. UPDATE: Butler is out for the night with illness. His breakout will have to wait.
Jeff Teague had his best game of the season and was in control of the offense the majority of the time he was on the court. The first two games, him and Butler more or less split time initiating offense, but against the Thunder, Teague took charge more often. Was that part of the game plan, or was it just how things panned out? That dynamic will be something to look out for tonight.
Karl-Anthony Towns will look to start the season with four consecutive double-doubles, but his defense is becoming a growing concern.
The Wolves have now won two in a row versus playoff teams from last season, and face another playoff team in the Pacers, though on paper it seems like the Pacers have downgraded somewhat. Trading Paul George in the offseason signaled a rebuild of the franchise, and so far this season they have started with a 1-2 record.
With George gone, the Pacers have turned to newly acquired Victor Oladipo and third-year big man Myles Turner to lead the youth movement.
Oladipo is averaging 22.3 points per game this season, with 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.7 steals. As the highest paid player on the roster, the Pacers are giving him the majority of touches on offense. Oladipo is also a steady defender and commonly guards opposing team’s best guards.
Turner is a supremely talented big man. He has great size to play in the post, where he’s extremely efficient, he can step out all the way to the three-point line and hit a shot, he is one of the top big men in free throw shooting (80.9 percent last season), and he is tremendous defensively with excellent mobility and length.
Unfortunately, Turner has missed the past two games with a concussion, and i
t remains to be seen if he’s healthy enough to play tonighthe will be out in tonight’s game. Second year big man Domantas Sabonis has filled in the starting lineup in his absence. Sabonis has had a nice start to the season, and is a threat on the offensive size of the ball.
Newcomer Darren Collison has been the second option on offense with Turner out. As the starting point guard, Collison has averaged 15.0 points, 7.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, with his typical efficient shooting (56.7 percent overall, 40.0 percent from three-point range).
Collison has been an underrated player for a number of years now, and though he may have lost a step, he still is able to post well-rounded lines and is normally one of the better players on the court.
In their first few games, the Pacers haven’t been afraid to run with three point guards in the lineup at once for significant stretches, with Victor Olidipo, Darren Collison and Cory Joseph out there with Thad Young and Sabonis. Though potentially weaker defensively, this lineup is able to score in bunches.
Will the Wolves respond to this lineup with Crawford in there and put Wiggins at the four? Or will they run big and let Wiggins chase down a point guard? Only Thibs knows for now.
It’s no secret the Pacers are looking to turn up the tempo more often. As a team, they are averaging 114.7 points per game this season, while giving up 119 points per game. With the Wolves’ best defender out, this game has the potential to turn into a track meet.
– Jeff Teague vs. Darren Collison
Jimmy ButlerAndrew Wiggins vs. Victor Oladipo
Perhaps it’s not the most intriguing point guard matchup one could think of, but these are two really solid, sometimes over looked, players that will battle it out and their games are not all that different.
Both players thrive in the pick and roll game, are efficient around the rim and are knock down shooters when their feet are set. Collison is set to take on a bigger role if Turner is out, so Teague will have the opportunity of slowing their second option down.
Meanwhile, Collison will have the challenge of taking Teague out of the offense. When Teague wasn’t touching the ball for the Wolves, their offense tended to stagnate a bit. Collison has the capability to deny Teague the ball and make life tough on the Wolves’ offense.
At the opposite guard position, Butler will once again be tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player.
With Butler out, I expect Wiggins will see significant time versus Oladipo, which won’t be an easy task. Oladipo isn’t on the same level as Russell Westbrook, but his style of play is not much different. He’ll have the ball in his hands a lot and looking to attack the basket and draw fouls.
He’s not nearly as efficient at the rim as Westbrook, but he does have some explosiveness. He’s also not afraid to run in and grab rebounds and push the ball in transition, so Wiggins will have to be alert at all times.
Jimmy Butler (illness) – OUT
Justin Patton (foot) – OUT
Glenn Robinson III (ankle) – OUT
Edmond Summer (knee) – OUT
Myles Turner (concussion, neck) – OUT
Where to Watch:
8:00 ET/7:00 CT on Fox Sports North Plus (Minnesota)
February 17, 2019, 11:20 pmKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard (knee soreness) suited up for the All-Star Game on Sunday and scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 19 minutes of action in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis.
He added five rebounds, five threes and two assists to the box score. Leonard has been in and out of the lineup for the Raptors quite a lot this season, but hopefully he can have a healthy second half of the season. If he can stay on the court, he should continue to hover around top-5 value in all formats. Expect Leonard to return for the Raptors' first game after the break ends.
February 17, 2019, 11:19 pmGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 17-of-23 shots on Sunday to score an All-Star game-high 38 points and 11 boards in the 164-178 loss to Team LeBron.
Steph Curry logged 29 minutes with 17 points but it wasn't enough as his teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 51 points tonight. Giannis was second on his squad in minutes with 27 and everyone should be well rested coming out of the All-Star break.
February 17, 2019, 11:11 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) put up 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists in a Team LeBron win over Team Giannis in Sunday’s All-Star Game.
He hit a 3-pointer and made some clutch plays down the stretch to help his team seal the win. Irving missed two games from this injury and should be good to go after the break for the Celtics and is a top-10 option for the remainder of the season.
February 17, 2019, 11:08 pmKevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant added some hardware to the mantle at home by taking Sunday night’s All-Star game MVP trophy.
Durant scored 31 points with six triples in the come from behind victory for Team LeBron 178-164 over Team Giannis. Durant got into it with Joel Embiid a few times, while swatting two shots in their matchup.
February 17, 2019, 11:03 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis made an appearance in the All-Star game on Sunday, logged only four minutes.
Davis finished with five points in four minutes, all in the first half, while appearing disinterested in giving it his all. Now owners will have to wait and see if the Pelicans try to shut him down despite the NBA’s insistence that he’s on the court if he’s healthy.
February 17, 2019, 7:48 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis confirmed in a live TV interview that he’s playing in Sunday’s All-Star game.
Davis owns the All-Star record for most points and while he might not push himself too hard tonight, he might still be motivated to put on a show. Davis can cast plenty of shade at the Pelicans if he plays well, as it’s rumored to Pelicans want to shut him down after the All-Star break, and the NBA wants to keep their top players active.
February 17, 2019, 7:05 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis (left shoulder contusion) is "good to play" for Sunday's All-Star game, according to Marc Stein.
The Pelicans probably don't like this as they don't want him on the court for regular games. If you're playing DFS for the All-Star game, count on Davis playing, and we respect your dedication to the game.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
February 17, 2019, 4:38 pmTyus Jones - G - Minnesota Timberwolves
In an article on The Athletic, Jon Krawczynski noted that Tyus Jones (left ankle sprain) should be returning in the Wolves' first game after the All-Star break.
The Wolves return to action on Friday at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Krawczynski also noted that Robert Covington (knee) should not be far behind Jones' return, which will give the Wolves much-needed depth as they make a playoff run.
Source: Jon Krawczynski on The Athletic
February 17, 2019, 4:28 pmJared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets
Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain) tweeted that he will be back for the next game as long as "everything goes according to plan."
The Nets will resume their season on Thursday as they host the Blazers. Dudley won't be on any fantasy radars, but he could be a pest by stealing minutes from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Rodions Kurucs.
Source: Jared Dudley on Twitter
February 17, 2019, 4:23 pmGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo plans to play for Greece in the FIBA World Championships this summer.
Giannis said the only way he won't play is if he has any injury concerns. He should be able to dominate the championships that start on August 31st in China.