• After falling in the season opener to San Antonio, the Timberwolves look to bounce back in their home opener against division-rival the Utah Jazz. This will also be the return of Ricky Rubio to Minnesota after spending his first six seasons with the T-Wolves.

    The Wolves lost 107-99 on Wednesday against the Spurs and looked a bit sluggish, especially in the first half. As a team they only shot 43.5 percent and much of it came off of isolation plays or from the pick-and-roll, while scoring only 11 points on the fast break.

    Andrew Wiggins was hot from the field on Wednesday, scoring 26 points and nailing four 3-pointers. He was shooting with confidence and pulling up without hesitation, hopefully it carry’s over to tonight’s game.

    Look for Jimmy Butler to get more involved tonight than he was in his last game after taking only 12 shots and scoring 12 points. It was a disappointing effort against the Leonard-less Spurs.

    Karl-Anthony Towns is going to have his hands full tonight. The Jazz are one of the few teams left in the NBA that roll with a traditional two big-man front court with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. The battle between Towns and Gobert is going to be particularly interesting.

    Utah won their opening game 106-96 at home against the Nuggets. The Jazz tend to favor a slow approach to the game down and play a defensive battle. Utah was 30th in pace last season, and in their last game they caused 22 turnovers but had just four fast break points.

    This doesn’t mean they lack offensive fire power though. Gobert is nearly unstoppable if he gets to the rim, and Rubio is adept at finding his big men (as Wolves fans know all about). Favors was injured and had a down year last season, but he looks healthy again and is a big threat on the block.

    On the perimeter, the Jazz are attempting to fill the void left by Gordon Hayward. This is no simple task, but Joe Ingles and Rodney Hood are capable scorers, and rookie Donovan Mitchell looked really promising in training camp as an athletic two-way player with some play making skills.

    Key Matchups:

    – Towns vs. Gobert

    – Teague vs. Rubio

    Gobert is the best player on the Jazz, and one of the top defensive centers in the NBA. Gobert’s rim protection will be a huge factor in this game, especially since the T-Wolves are an inside oriented team. Towns will have no easy time generating offense versus Gobert inside, but on the perimeter he may have to hit a few shots to open up the floor to at least keep the defense honest. If Gobert is allowed to stay near the rim all game, it could be a long night for the offense.

    For Towns defensively, he has to make sure he puts a body on Gobert at all times to keep him away from offensive rebounds and lob passes. Towns bit on a few fakes on Wednesday night and lost position defensively to Aldridge and Gasol for easy baskets. This isn’t part of Gobert’s game, but could be something to look out for.

    Towns also was left ball watching on a defensive position and allowed Aldridge to get an easy put back dunk. That won’t fly against Gobert.

    Jeff Teague and Ricky Rubio is an intriguing match up because of the intangible factors at play. Rubio was traded in favor of Teague, who the Wolves signed in free agency. There’s a little bit extra on the line here for Rubio to show they made the wrong choice, or for Teague to prove he is the right guy.

     

    Starting Lineups:

    Jeff Teague

    Jimmy Butler

    Andrew Wiggins

    Taj Gibson

    Karl-Anthony Towns

    vs.

    Ricky Rubio

    Rodney Hood

    Joe Ingles

    Derrick Favors

    Rudy Gobert

    Inactive List:

    Anthony Brown (coaches decision) – OUT

    Justin Patton (foot) – OUT

    Dante Exum (Shoulder) – OUT

    Where to watch:

    8:00 ET/7:00 CT on Fox Sports North (Minnesota) and AT&T Sports Network (Utah)

Fantasy News

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant (calf strain) still hasn’t progressed to on-court work.

    Durant has already been declared “unlikely” for Thursday’s Game 1 of the Finals and considering DeMarcus Cousins has practiced in full and scrimmaged with the team, it’s looking like he might return to action before Durant. There’s almost a week until the Finals start so we’ll have an update before then.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • DeMarcus Cousins - C - Golden State Warriors

    DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) scrimmaged on Friday with coach Steve Kerr adding that he looked good.

    It's still unclear what the timetable is for Cousins but he hasn't yet been ruled out for Game 1 of the Finals. We'll have an update as we draw closer to the start of the Finals next Thursday.

    Source: Nick Friedell on Twitter

  • Adam Silver - Commissioner - Invalid Team

    The NBA has moved the start time of free agency to 6 p.m. ET on June 30.

    Previously, free agency officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 but the league is moving it up by six hours to accommodate an extra evening in the news cycle. Additionally, teams have permission to set up free agent meetings starting at 6 p.m. ET on June 29.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Neil Olshey - President - Trail Blazers

    The Blazers have extended the contract of President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey through 2024.

    Olshey was being courted by the Wizards but will stay in Portland along with coach Terry Stotts. They’ll look to run it back next season, hopefully with a full roster intact.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (personal) has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 6 vs. the Bucks.

    McCaw hasn’t played all series and has pretty much been a non-factor all playoffs.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Andre Iguodala - G/F - Golden State Warriors

    Andre Iguodala (left calf tightness) did not participate in Friday’s practice session.

    Iguodala sat out Game 4 of the Conference Finals with the tight calf but the Warriors aren’t worried about him missing Game 1 of the Finals.

    Source: Connor Letourneau on Twitter

  • Neil Olshey - Team - Trail Blazers

    According to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards have shown interest in Blazers’ President Neil Olshey becoming the new President of Basketball Operations for the Wizards.

    Ted Leonsis has yet to request permission to interview Olshey, who has spent the last seven years with the Blazers and is under contract through the 2020-21 season. Masai Ujiri’s name has also been thrown around as a possible candidate and the Wizards would obviously be willing to wait until the end of playoffs before rushing to a decision.

    Source: Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington

  • Nikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic said he plans to play for his home country Serbia during the 2019 FIBA World Cup this Summer.

    “I am very pleased with everything I did in the NBA this season, I had a great year in which I performed at the All-Star Game and was selected in the NBA All-Star Five. For me, the cherry on top of this whole season would be a medal with the national team. I am fully prepared to do my best to achieve this goal”, said Jokic, confirming his participation. He will have a little bit of time to rest up, but Serbia is expected to compete against Angola, the Philippines and Italy starting on August 31. The miles will be a test for the big man, but one he has aced before.

    Source: Eurohoops.net

  • Khris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Khris Middleton really struggled in Thursday's Game 5, scoring six points (2-of-9 shooting) and pulling down 10 boards as the Bucks fell 105-99 at home.

    Middleton's disappearing act offensively was the difference for the Bucks who really need their second best offensive option to demand the ball and produce more. The airball late in the game was a microcosm of the outing for Middleton. He'll need to take more than nine shots (less than any other Bucks starter) for the team to have a good shot at a Game 6 win in Toronto.

  • Brook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks

    Brook Lopez scored 16 points and pulled down eight boards on Thursday night in a Game 6 loss.

    Lopez was fine in general and wasn't really a liability, but he also didn't provide as much as needed on the defensive side or from long range. For what it's worth, he has generally outplayed his counterpart Marc Gasol in this series and tonight was no different.