• 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

  • Trey 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

  • Gary 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

  • Emanuel 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

  • Troy 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

  • Emmanuel 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

  • Robin 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

  • Kris 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

  • Emmanuel 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

  • Frank Ntilikina - G - New York Knicks

    Frank Ntilikina (groin) is scheduled to be re-evaluated on Friday.

    It sounds like Ntilikina will not suit up on Friday. He'll be fighting with Emmanuel Mudiay for backup point guard minutes when he does get back on the floor, and while he might be able to get an edge there with Mudiay headed for free agency there isn't enough to warrant attention in fantasy leagues.

    Source: Ian Begley on Twitter

  • Aron Baynes - F/C - Boston Celtics

    Aron Baynes (left foot contusion) will not play on the Celtics' upcoming road trip, which means he'll miss at least three more games.

    Danny Ainge said that Baynes may not return until early March, so this isn't too surprising. Daniel Theis gets at least three more games of fantasy appeal.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter