January 30, 2018, 11:30 pm
The road woes continued for the Wolves once again, this time losing another game that they had a chance to pull out a win. At least this one stings a little less than last night.
A loss is still a loss and the Raptors were able to enact revenge for the last meeting.
The Wolves didn’t necessarily play a bad game in this one. They were competitive throughout and had chances to win, but squandered a number of defensive stops with their inability to score on the offensive side. That’s a problem that hasn’t cropped up for this team often.
It does speak to the Raptors’ huge improvements as a team though, especially from players on their bench. Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright came up huge on both sides of the ball and really took pressure off some of their starters.
Of course their starters also played well. DeMar DeRozan had a very Jimmy Butler-esque game finishing with 23 points, eight assists and four rebounds and lived at the line as well, going 10-of-11.
Jonas Valanciunas stepped up huge as well, making up for his last performance. He finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting. His presence allowed Toronto to roll with their standard rotation and keep the pressure on.
Karl-Anthony Towns was a major factor in disrupting that rotation last time out because he was able to get Jonas into foul trouble, but tonight Towns was nearly invisible. He took only seven shot attempts and finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
It’s unclear if Towns is tired or banged up or what but his shot attempts have been below 10 in five of the last seven games, and he’s certainly been less involved. Whatever the case the Wolves need to work it out because it’s no coincidence the Wolves are struggling when Towns isn’t involved.
As mentioned above though the Wolves played a solid all-around game. They shot 49.4 percent from the floor and committed only eight turnovers, while out-rebounding the Raptors.
The difference came from beyond the arc and at the line. The Wolves made five 3-pointers (on only 12 attempts) to the Raptors’ nine, and missed nine free throws to the Raptors’ four. Typically the Wolves are better from the line, especially Butler who shot just 5-of-10 from the stripe. Jimmy finished with 25 points, six assists, five rebounds and two 3-pointers.
Overall this wasn’t a terribly frustrating game because the team didn’t play bad and the route to victory is easily attainable. If they involve Towns more and hit their free throws they’ll be in fine shape. More than anything it will be nice to put the month behind them and finally get some rest days.
January was going to be a tough month for the Wolves. They played the most games in the month, while never having more than one day off in a row.
The road trips included three east-bound and one west-bound while sandwiching in three single-game homestands between multi-game road trips. The Wolves were basically at home for one long, five-game homestand and the rest was consistent traveling.
The month started out well for the Wolves and they were arguably playing their best basketball of the season. It ended on a poor note though, more like a team that is begging for the All-Star break. They still finished the month with a winning record at 9-8, but closed out the month going just 1-4.
All four losses were on the road and the Wolves went just 1-8 away from the Target Center in January. The Wolves actually played solid basketball on the road going into this month, with an offensive rating of 109.3 and a defensive rating of 106.8 and winning 11-of-19 games. Those numbers plummeted to just 106.8 and 113.8 respectively over the last month.
Despite all of that, the Wolves still sit in the fourth spot in the Western Conference, though their lead has diminished to just a half game over the fifth-seed Thunder. Up next the Wolves return home for a two-game homestand where they’ll get some much needed rest and practice time. Bucks come into town Thursday.
November 20, 2019, 11:35 amJabari ParkerPF, Atlanta Hawks
Jabari Parker said on Wednesday morning that he is most likely playing tonight, even though he is being listed as questionable due to right shoulder pain.
Jabari has been returning borderline top-30 value the last couple weeks with John Collins sidelined due to a suspension. He doesn’t seem to be in danger of missing tonight’s game but we should wait for another update closer to tip-off.
Source: Chris Kirschner on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 11:28 amMarvin Bagley IIIPF, Sacramento Kings
Luke Walton said on Tuesday that Marvin Bagley is scheduled to be re-evaluated on Wednesday and he will accompany the team on a four-game East Coast road trip that starts on Friday.
Bagley has been out since suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb in the opening night. The Kings initially said that Bagley would be out four to six weeks and today will mark the four-week mark for the 20-year-old power forward who has gotten increasingly more physical in on-court workouts over the past several days. The buy-low window is rapidly closing and it will be interesting to see how the Kings use him once he is ready to return. Just make sure he is not sitting on any waiver wires.
Source: Sacramento Bee
November 20, 2019, 11:19 amZylan CheathamPF, New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have transferred two-way players Zylan Cheatham and Josh Gray to the Erie BayHawks of the G League on Wednesday.
Both of them had joined the Pelicans recently due to a myriad injuries that decimated the team’s depth.
Source: Pelicans PR on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 11:14 amJosh MagettePG, Orlando Magic
With Michael Carter-Williams sidelined with what the team has labeled left hip "irritation," the Magic have had point guard Josh Magette, who is on a two-way contract, join the team on its current road trip.
Magette has played really well in the G League so far this year but he will provide nothing more than insurance depth behind Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin.
Source: Josh Robbins on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 10:55 amJonathan IsaacPF, Orlando Magic
Steve Clifford said on Wednesday morning that, unless an unforeseen setback occurs during shootaround, Jonathan Isaac is on track to play tonight against the Raptors.
Isaac has missed the Magic’s last two games because of a sprained right ankle that happened at a team event. We should probably get another update later today but owners should prepare to have Isaac back tonight. Al-Farouq Aminu played well in his absence and it will be interesting to see whether Clifford can manufacture more playing time for the Nigerian forward.
Source: Josh Robbins on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 10:46 amRussell WestbrookPG, Houston Rockets
The Rockets have become a considerably more effective fast-breaking team this season, but the improved pace could also be helping their halfcourt offense.
Houston is eighth in the NBA in fast-break points per game this season with 14.9, an increase from 19th last season when the team averaged 12.0 fast break points. They also have the top-ranked offense in the league, averaging 112.7 points per 100 possessions, in part because they have gotten into their halfcourt sets much quicker. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni credits the increase in pace to the addition of Westbrook who seems to be blending nicely with James Harden so far.
Source: Houston Chronicle
November 20, 2019, 10:09 amOtto Porter Jr.SF, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls announced on Wednesday that Otto Porter Jr. underwent a repeat MRI which revealed bone bruising not apparent on his original MRI and consistent with his ongoing symptoms.
This actually might be good news as we now have a crystal clear timetable about his potential return. Porter should be stashed in all leagues and hopefully he will be able to return soon. Look for Chandler Hutchison to continue starting for the Bulls at small forward.
Source: Bulls PR on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 9:54 amCarmelo AnthonyPF, Portland Trail Blazers
Carmelo Anthony finished with 10 points on just 4-of-14 shooting in his debut with the Blazers, but Terry Stotts said that he felt "very encouraged" by the chances his power forward was getting throughout the game.
Melo also had five fouls and five turnovers while he talked about adjusting to the speed of the game again after sitting out for an entire year. The Blazers meanwhile seem poised to continue using him in a starting role and it remains to be seen what kind of value can Melo generate in his new home.
November 20, 2019, 9:39 amTy JeromePG, Phoenix Suns
Suns GM James Jones said on Tuesday that rookie point guard Ty Jerome is still a couple weeks away from returning to action.
There still hasn’t been an official update and Jerome is now closing in on an absence of almost one month. The Suns have struggled in the last couple games with Ricky Rubio bothered by back spams while the backup point guard position looks to be up for grabs.
Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 9:07 amNikola JokicC, Denver Nuggets
The Serbian Basketball Federation made official this morning the hiring of Igor Kokoskov as the head coach of their national team.
Kokoskov is currently an assistant with the Kings while he coached the Suns last year. He has tremendous experience at the international level where he helped lead Slovenia to the 2017 EuroBasket gold medal. Serbia failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year and they will compete for a wild card earlier this upcoming summer.