• After falling last night to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Wolves have all their attention focused on the best team in the NBA. This will be the second meeting between the two teams, the first also coming in Oakland way back on November 8. That was a dominating performance for the Warriors who won 125-101.

    The Wolves have come a long way since that time and will look to take down the best of the best, though the health of their leader remains in question. His status was upgraded from doubtful but there’s still uncertainty if he’s ready to go or not.

    The Warriors are on a roll, having lost only four games since December 1. For a team full of superstars the Warriors rarely run isolation offense for their players, even though they could very easily do it and still have a very good offense.

    The fact that they don’t is what makes their offense incredibly dangerous. They willingly share the ball and find the best shot on every possession. The entire team buys into the extra pass concept, but it’s not making the extra pass just to make the extra pass. Every play has a purpose for the team. It’s not running through the motions with them.

    The Warriors don’t even run the pick-and-roll too often, ranking last in the NBA in frequency. Many teams initiate a series of passes from the pick-and-roll, but the Warriors find other ways.

    The Warriors generate most of their offense in transition, though we’ll get to that later. In the half court the Warriors are rarely stagnant. Players without the ball are always moving or cutting or setting back screens for other players who are cutting.

    The Warriors rank third in the NBA in pace, but in the half-court they aren’t in a hurry. They take as much time as it needs to get up the perfect shot every possession. The reason their pace is ranked so high is because they do run a lot of transition offense as well. In fact they are only behind the Lakers in terms of transition offense frequency.

    The transition offense is based off their excellent defense though and not as a result of them simply forcing the issue. They instead are able to get consistent stops and turnovers and look to run whenever they have the advantage.

    When four, or even sometimes all five, players on the floor are all able to run the fastbreak with the ball in their hand it creates easy opportunities to run often. Then when you can surround the ball handler with four pure shooters, and everyone is able to finish at the rim, it creates situations where two point games turn into 20 points games within minutes.

    In these teams’ last meeting the first half was close because the Wolves were able to take care of the ball and keep the Warriors in the half-court. By the second half the flood gates opened and the Warriors ran all over them. It’s nearly impossible to slow them down for an entire game but the Wolves have the personnel to pull it off, should Butler play.

    On a light note, Towns and Butler were drafted by “Team Stephen” in the first ever All-Star draft. They’ll team up with Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, among others, in the All-Star game on February 18. Kevin Durant was selected by “Team LeBron” and will face off with his teammates.

    Key Matchups:

    – Andrew Wiggins vs. Klay Thompson

    – Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Zaza Pachulia

    The Wolves offense is going to be key tonight because it will directly play into their defense. If the Wolves are missing shots or making careless plays the Warriors will turn it into a track meet.

    That means everyone has to take smart shots for the Wolves, especially Wiggins. Wigs loves the mid-range and taking acrobatic shots in the post, but against the Warriors those aren’t going to fly, and they only put Wiggins out of position to get back on defense.

    Same goes for Towns. If Karl is able to get good post position and shoot a lot of interior shots, or even draw some fouls to slow down the game, it will allow the Wolves to set up their defense and at least have a chance at getting some consistent stops.

    Of course if the Wolves defend the half-court like they did last night it won’t make a difference how many points they score.

    Towns will likely see a combination of Zaza and Green most of the time while Wiggins will draw Durant if Butler plays, or Thompson if Butler sits. Every player in the Warriors starting five is a good-to-excellent defender, so no shot will be easy.

    Lineups:

    Jeff Teague – PG

    Andrew Wiggins – SG

    Nemanja Bjelica – SF

    Taj Gibson – PF

    Karl-Anthony Towns – C

    vs.

    Steph Curry – PG

    Klay Thompson – SG

    Kevin Durant – SF

    Draymond Green – PF

    Zaza Pachulia – C

    Injuries:

    Jimmy Butler (knee) – QUESTIONABLE

    Jamal Crawford (toe) – PROBABLE

    Jordan Bell (ankle) – OUT

    Where to Watch:

    10:30 ET/9:30 CT on TNT

Fantasy News

  • Kenrich Williams
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Kenrich Williams produced plenty of stats again with eight points (2-of-4 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), 14 rebounds, one assist, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes in a win over the Blazers on Tuesday.

    Rebounds, steals and threes have been Williams' specialties during his six-start stretch. He'll be relegated to bench duty as the Pelicans get healthier, but he can be started in standard leagues if he fits your team until then. Also in the starting lineup with a nice game tonight was Jaxson Hayes putting up nice points, seven boards, two steals and three blocks in 21 minutes.

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma suffered a cut near his right eye on Tuesday and headed to the locker room to address the bleeding.

    Assuming the trainers can control the bleed and get Kuzma cleared that there's nothing else wrong, it's likely he'll be able to return to the game.

    Source: Brad Turner on Twitter

  • Frank Jackson
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Frank Jackson (left neck contusion) returned after missing one game to score nine points (2-of-4 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), grab two boards and hit two treys in 19 minutes vs. the Blazers on Tuesday.

    Jackson isn't worth rostering in standard leagues, but he is getting regular rotation minutes while the Pelicans are missing quite a few players. He's a deep-league option capable of having a big game here and there. Nickeil Alexander-Walker cooled off in this one with just 3 points, four rebounds, an assist and a three while missing his other five shots in 16 minutes.

  • Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness) looked good in his return from a four-game absence with 21 points (8-for-20 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs), seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes in a win over the Blazers on Tuesday.

    With the Pelicans still ravaged by injuries, Ingram jumped right back in and filled up the box score. It's a good sign that he was able to play 35 minutes in his first game back. Ingram probably won't stick in the top-25 all season, but he may be able to stay close while the Pelicans are missing up to five rotation players.

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum had a well-rounded game without Damian Lillard in a loss on Tuesday night, providing 22 points (9-of-22 FGs), four rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes.

    That's a great game from McCollum, though the usage was pretty much the same as when he plays with Lillard. McCollum usually gets a bigger boost when he's running the show, so keep an eye on Lillard's status for Thursday's game as it could be another chance for C.J. to go off.

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside sank all four of his free throws and double-doubled with 14 points (5-of-7 FGs), 14 rebounds and a block in 29 minutes on Tuesday night as the Blazers lost to the Pelicans.

    That's at least 10 made free throws in a row for Whiteside, who is up to 78.8 percent from the line for the season. That's playing a big part in his ability to put up fourth-round value through 14 games. While he's not providing first-round value as he once did, Whiteside has made a huge leap this season.

  • Nassir Little
    SF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Nassir Little moved back to the bench as Carmelo Anthony started at the four on Tuesday, but he put up his first double-double with 12 points (5-of-6 FGs), 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and two 3-pointers in 23 minutes.

    The state of the Blazers' frontcourt should help get Little at least 20 minutes per game, but the fact that Anthony is now on the team will cap his upside. Little is still very raw, but tonight's game shows that he can be a worth-while dart-throw, especially if (when) Melo misses games.

  • Anfernee Simons
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Anfernee Simons got his first start of the season in place of Damian Lillard (back spasms) on Tuesday vs. the Pelicans and he did reasonably well, putting up 13 points (4-of-13 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), three rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes.

    The only other start of Simons' career was last season's finale in which he played all 48 minutes and scored 37 points. He won't be matching that anytime soon, but tonight's serviceable line is another step in the right direction for the 20-year-old. Simons is not worth rostering in a standard league, but he's a fine 3-point streamer, especially when he gets spot starts like this.

  • Carmelo Anthony
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Carmelo Anthony debuted for the Blazers and started on Tuesday, going for 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting, four boards, two treys and a block in a 104-115 loss to the Pelicans.

    It's a solid start for Melo, who played in just 10 games last season for the Rockets but averaged 13.4 points per game. Damian Lillard (back spasms) missed this game, so he may not get up to 14 field goal attempts on a regular basis. He's not a must-add player in standard leagues, but he's worth paying attention to. And that shouldn't be tough, given all the coverage you're sure to hear.

  • Draymond Green
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green sleeved up his banged arm on the bench and looks like he's ready to return to Tuesday's game.

    Green is one tough cookie, so it's no surprise that he's gutting this one out. Owners can breathe a sigh of relief.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter