• The Wolves host two home games before the All-Star break. The Lakers come to town on Thursday, but the marquee matchup is tonight with the Houston Rockets making their way through.

    These teams are among the best offensive teams in the NBA. The Timberwolves have the third best offensive rating while the Rockets have the second best, trailing just the Golden State Warriors.

    The last time these teams met about one month ago, the Rockets were in a groove and easily took care of the Wolves 116-98. That one was in Houston though and the Wolves’ struggles on the road have been well documented.

    In Minneapolis, the Wolves have been a much more dangerous team. Riding a 13-game home win-streak, the team has found their defensive edge and even managed to kick their offense into a higher gear.

    The Rockets are a dangerous team anywhere, though, because they consistently defend well, as opposed to just in spurts like the Wolves. Ranking in the top-10 in defense has pushed the Rockets into legitimate title contenders with the Warriors.

    Since these teams last met on January 18, they rank first and second in offensive rating. The Rockets are 12-1 in that span however, and the Wolves are 6-7. The difference is on the defensive end. The Rockets have the seventh best while the Wolves have had the second worst.

    These struggles aren’t going to be fixed over night making a high scoring affair inevitable, at least on one end. Can the Wolves overcome a strong defense and live up to their offensive potential? Facing off with the one team that has had a better offense of late certainly makes the task seem all the more dire.

    A win tonight, though, can at least give the top of the Western Conference something to consider. So far the Wolves are 26-9 versus the west, which is the best mark in the NBA, but they are 1-4 versus the three teams ahead of them and 0-3 versus the top two.

    Key Matchup:

    – Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Clint Capela

    The Wolves were able to take advantage of this matchup in the last game, with Towns putting up 22 points and 16 rebounds, though he only hit 1-of-7 3-pointers. If Towns is able to hit his deep shots it could disrupt the Houston defense.

    Of course on the other side Capela scored 20 points himself and had way too many easy dunks. Whether Towns or Gibson is guarding him, no one can forget about the big fella down low. The Rockets bombard teams from beyond the arc so it’s easy to get lazy defending the interior.

    The Rockets are proficient in the deep ball and at drawing fouls. Rarely do they settle for mid range shots. Capela plays a factor in the latter portion, while Ryan Anderson plays a portion in the former. The big man battle will be key as the Wolves can’t let either guy get comfortable.

    Capela and Anderson are prolific playing to their strengths, but also limited outside of it. It’s impossible to stop the Rockets completely, but chipping away at some of the pieces can make it tougher.

    Meanwhile whoever is guarding Anderson should demand the attention of the offense should the team ever find themselves in a rut. Capela is a tremendous defender, while Anderson is far from it.

    Lineups:

    Jeff Teague – PG

    Jimmy Butler – SG

    Andrew Wiggins – SF

    Taj Gibson – PF

    Karl-Anthony Towns – C

    vs.

    Chris Paul – PG

    James Harden – SG

    P.J. Tucker – SF

    Luc Mbah a Moute – PF

    Clint Capela – C

    Injuries:

    Trevor Ariza (hamstring) – OUT

    Where to Watch:

    8:00 ET/ 7:00 CT on Fox Sports North

Fantasy News

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter

  • Jaylen Adams
    PG, Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.

    Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.

    Source: NBA

  • Jeff Ledbetter
    G, San Antonio Spurs

    The Spurs have offered summer league guard Jeff Ledbetter an Exhibit 10 deal, but he is still mulling over his options which include playing in Europe.

    Ledbetter had a productive summer league and now finds himself with a chance to play for the Austin Spurs of the G-League. Ledbetter is sure to be staring at a bigger payday in Europe, so his choice will be an interesting one. We should have a decision soon.

    Source: Nicola Lupo on Twitter

  • Eric Mika
    C, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings announced on Tuesday that they signed summer league standout C Eric Mika to an exhibit 10 contract.

    The former BYU big man is now set up to play for the Stockton Kings of the G-League. The Kings have a deep big man rotation, and it's unlikely that we'll see much, if any, of Mika on the roster this season.

    Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter

  • JA Morant
    PG, Memphis Grizzlies

    Ja Morant (right knee) said that he is completely healed from the minor knee surgery earlier this summer, saying he is "100 percent right now."

    Morant will look to get back into the swing of things in the coming weeks as he prepares for his rookie season. Morant has the talent and the role on rebuilding team and is undoubtedly going to cost a pretty penny in fantasy drafts.

    Source: Peter Edmiston on Twitter

  • Derrick Alston
    Team, New York Knicks

    The Westchester Knicks have named Derrick Alston as the new head coach, replacing Mike Miller who was promoted to join David Fizdale’s staff.

    Alston, a former NBA player, has been an assistant for Westchester for four years. Before that, Alston was a player development coach with the Rockets. This will be Alston’s first head coaching gig as he continues to move up the ladder.

    Source: Ian Begley on Twitter

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Cory Joseph is not expected to play for Team Canada in the FIBA World Cup.

    Team Canada has been taking a beating the last few weeks with NBA guys continuing to pull out. This news won't have any effects on Joseph's role heading into the season, but it does create another dent in Team Canada's chances of making noise in the World Cup.

    Source: Doug Smith: Raptors on Twitter

  • Marcus Georges-Hunt
    SG, Free Agent

    Jay King of The Athletic is hearing that Marcus Georges-Hunt is in Boston working out with the Celtics for the next few days.

    Georges-Hunt last played in the NBA for the Wolves in the 2017-18 season. Last season Georges-Hunt was waived from the Celtics in mid-October and played nine games for the Red Claws. Georges-Hunt is a longshot to make the team and carries no fantasy relevance regardless of the outcome.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Lakers are planning individual workouts to evaluate centers Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard and Mo Speights this week in Los Angeles.

    Marcin Gortat is also in the Lakers’ radar as the team is actively looking to sign another big after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL last week. Speights spent the last season in China after 10 years in the NBA while Gortat remains overseas and it’s unclear whether he will be back to Los Angeles for a workout with the team.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter