• Tonight the Wolves really missed Jimmy Butler. They were playing with fire in their previous two games, though not to discount the tremendous victories. Butler just makes a huge difference for the defense and as a leader on the floor.

    The Wolves came out firing in the first quarter, shooting 12-of-16 to open the game, while Wiggins was 4-of-4 with nine points. The Blazers were struggling to contain the inside game for the Wolves who had multiple size advantages.

    After the first quarter though the Blazers started to settle in on both sides of the ball. Offensively they found their perimeter shooting and defensively they made a few adjustments. They outscored the Wolves 29-25 in the second quarter and never looked back.

    After halftime the Blazers caught fire form the perimeter and their offense percolated from there, opening up the entire floor to breakdown the Wolves at will. They scored 43 points in the third quarter and continued to build the lead through the end of the game, which ended up in a 123-114 loss that wasn’t as close as that score indicates.

    There were early signs this could be a tough night for the Wolves. If not for the offense getting off to such a hot start, and some timely buckets by Jamal Crawford in the second quarter, this could have been an early decimation.

    The Blazers were hanging in with the Wolves step for step in the first. The Wolves were getting torched in the pick-and-roll defensively and weren’t aware of the action going on behind the play, continuously losing their defenders for easy points.

    Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were on fire, though it was expected they would at least post their usual production. It was the role players that absolutely killed the Wolves in this one. Of course a reason the Blazers were humming were because the Lillard-McCollum duo were able to generate offense at will, and made it easier for their teammates.

    Lillard finished with 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range and 7-of-7 from the line. He added six assists and four rebounds to round out his line. He didn’t played the entire fourth quarter.

    Throughout the game, the Wolves were dropping in pick-and-roll coverage and Lillard was not hesitating in pulling up with the extra space. When the Wolves started to over-play on the P&R Lillard started breaking the defense off the dribble.

    McCollum finished with 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range and added five assists and three rebounds.

    Again it didn’t come as much of a surprise that these two were able to dominate, but it was the Wolves allowing Ed Davis, Pat Connaughton and Al-Farouq Aminu to continuously find easy looks and cash in that ended up being the back-breaker.

    The team as a whole had a defensive breakdown after halftime and they weren’t able to contain the 3-point shooting. The Blazers shot 54.8 percent from beyond the arc on 17-of-31 attempts. Overall from the field they shot 54.9 percent.

    The Wolves’ offense wasn’t bad in this game. In fact it was pretty good. They shot 53.6 from the field and turned the ball over only six times. The issue was defense, but also the hole the Wolves dug themselves into.

    When the Blazers were draining three after three, the Wolves couldn’t dent the lead because they don’t have the ability to drop 3-pointers at the same rate. When games turn into a 3-point shooting contest the Wolves will continue to struggle. On the night they shot only 6-of-16 from beyond the arc.

    Andrew Wiggins led the team in scoring with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting. He added two rebounds, two assists, two 3-pointers and a block. He generally took advantage of his mismatch, torching Evan Turner. His defense on McCollum wasn’t nearly as smooth.

    Karl-Anthony Towns scored 16 points on only nine shots. He picked up nine rebounds, one assist and two 3-pointers, but the shot attempts are really becoming a weird sore spot every night. His attempts have steadily decreased every month of the season to a point where he’s only taking 12.6 shots per game this month.

    It’s a weird problem to have because the Wolves are still a very good offensive team but their have so much potential to be better if Towns, the most efficient big man in the NBA and perhaps most offensively gifted, was able to get more touches. Five players took more shots than Towns tonight.

    Jamal Crawford was among those who took more shots, scoring 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He completed another 4-point play as well.

    Up next the Wolves face off with the Warriors to conclude their road trip. The schedule makers continue to do the Wolves no favors this season, giving the Wolves a contest in Oracle on the second of a back-to-back at the end of a road trip.

    The Wolves hope to welcome back Butler for the game.

Fantasy News

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Dwight Howard remains in his Atlanta-area home and the Lakers hope he will eventually join them in Orlando.

    The Lakers do not plan to replace Howard on the roster. They are being patient with Howard, but if he decides to not play in Orlando the Lakers will likely look to sign another center.

    Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter

  • Luc Mbah a Moute
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Shams Charania reported that the Houston Rockets plan to sign Luc Mbah a Moute for the Orlando restart.

    Thabo Sefolosha announced on Wednesday that he will not participate in the Orlando restart, leaving the Rockets with a need for an additional three-and-D wing. Mbah a Moute played 61 games for the Rockets in 2017-18 and averaged 25.6 minutes per game, so he is familiar with their system. Mbah a Moute will be a low-usage player that the Rockets can plug in at the end of their rotation and will provide them more depth, which could be imperative for teams given the COVID-19 concerns surrounding this Orlando restart.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dwight Powell
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell has advanced in his rehab from a torn Achilles as he has been able to do some light shooting, agility work, and has been able to do some jogging on the treadmill.

    Powell suffered a torn Achilles in January and has no chance of participating in Orlando's restart. However, it is always good news to hear a player reach a milestone in terms of their rehab. Powell may not play an NBA game until the 2021-22 season as he continues to recover from one of the toughest injuries in basketball. This is a situation that will continue to evolve over the next year or so.

    Source: Callie Caplan on Twitter

  • Jaren Jackson Jr.
    PF, Memphis Grizzlies

    Head coach Taylor Jenkins told the media that they are "looking good, feeling good" in regards to the health of Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee), Brandon Clarke (right quad) and Justise Winslow (back soreness).

    Jackson and Clarke missed nine and eight games respectively prior to the shutdown while Winslow has yet to play a game for the Grizzlies due to an ongoing back injury. This appears to be great news for the young team as they will be at full strength when the league does resume. Clarke and Jackson definitely have fantasy appeal as they both finished inside the top-80 on the season. Winslow has potential but he is the riskiest of the three based on a brand new situation and the back injury that has caused him to miss 53 games so far this season. It is probably best to avoid Winslow for the league resumption and re-evaluate his fantasy value prior to the 2020-21 campaign.

    Source: Michael Wallace on Twitter

  • Thomas Bryant
    C, Washington Wizards

    Wizards center Thomas Bryant told the media that he is "100 percent healed" from a stress fracture in his foot and is doing everything on the basketball court ahead of the NBA resumption in Orlando.

    Bryant struggled to stay healthy prior to the league suspension as he played in 38 out of 64 games while the team also had him on a strict minutes limit for several of the contests that he was able to play. He is an intriguing fantasy option for the NBA restart but his recent injury history should be considered at draft time.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter

  • Caleb Swanigan
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Blazers forward, Caleb Swanigan, has opted out of the resumption of the NBA season in Orlando.

    Swanigan averaged 13.3 mpg for the Blazers across 20 contests and is off the radar from a fantasy perspective. He will join Trevor Ariza who will also be sitting out the NBA restart. There was very little likelihood that Swanigan would have been part of the rotation in Orlando with Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins returning from injury.

    Source: NBC Sports Northwest

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Thabo Sefolosha will not participate in Orlando when the league resumes.

    Sefolosha was a deep rotation piece for the Rockets as he only eclipsed the 20 minute mark once this season. There isn't much of a fantasy impact here as Sefolosha played in just two of the team's final nine games.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jusuf Nurkic
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    In regards to the health of Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins, head coach Terry Stotts said that "they both look great" and will be available for the restart of the NBA season in Orlando.

    Nurkić was close to returning when the league was suspended while Collins was further away from playing basketball in March. However, the additional three months allowed Collins to recover as he has no limitations heading into the restart in Orlando. It is likely that they will find themselves in the starting unit while Nurkić is the more proven player in terms of fantasy production.

    Source: Sean Highkin on Twitter

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    The Kings training staff believes that Marvin Bagley (left foot sprain) will be available for game action shortly.

    Bagley hasn't appeared in a game since January. While Bagley would likely have a bench role, his return may cut into the playing time of teammates like Harrison Barnes and Harry Giles.

    Source: Jason Jones on Twitter

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nuggets coach Mike Malone said that Nikola Jokic "feels great" after suffering from the coronavirus and is expected to join the team in Orlando.

    It was reported in late June that Jokic tested positive for COVID-19. However, he was said to be feeling fine and could potentially play in games when they resume. The center has averaged 20.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.2 steals in 2019-20. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee would see more playing time if Jokic is held out of action.

    Source: Mark Medina on Twitter