• 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

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    LeBron James put together a double-double in Wednesday's 120-94 win against the Warriors, ending with 23 points, six rebounds, 12 assists, a steal and a block.

    James is now averaging 11.1 assists per game and is still getting his when it comes to scoring. He is just inside the top-25 right now and will keep filling the stat sheet all season.

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma started and finished Wednesday night's contest with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, and three 3-pointers.

    Kuzma has put together a nice streak of games. He adds scoring and 3-pointers, but can't find a way to help teams in other categories. Kuzma will likely end up having late-round value at this pace.

  • JaVale McGee
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    JaVale McGee put up a double-double on Wednesday, finishing with 18 points, 17 boards, two assists, three steals and three blocks.

    McGee was the better center in this contest and played 28 minutes to Dwight Howard's (15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one block) 20 minutes. McGee put up one of his best performances of the season, but it's hard to get too excited by one night of work. Howard seems to be the center to own for the Lakers.

  • D'Angelo Russell
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    D'Angelo Russell ended the night with 21 points, two rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block.

    Russell is clearly the go-to option on this Golden State team. He is a top-40 guy right now and has the potential to keep that up for the rest of the year.

  • Draymond Green
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green didn't contribute much on Wednesday, ending with 10 points, only one rebound, five assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Green contributed in each category, barely. It was nice to see him knock down a couple shots from beyond the arc, but these are hardly the numbers owners were expecting when taking Green in the early rounds. He is currently returning top-125 value and could be a great buy-low opportunity, but it's hard to trust much on the Warriors right now.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein
    C, Golden State Warriors

    Willie Cauley-Stein scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added five rebounds, three assists and two blocks on Wednesday.

    Cauley-Stein had the best game of the Golden State big men (Marquese Chriss ended scoreless with six boards, two assists and two blocks) and is having a top-100 year so far. He might be doing it quietly, but it's hard to fault you if want to pick up Cauley-Stein now.

  • Eric Paschall
    PF, Golden State Warriors

    Eric Paschall came off the bench on Wednesday and dropped 15 points with three rebounds.

    Paschall still logged 32 minutes but didn't stuff the stat sheet like we have seen in the past. He put a nice move on LeBron, but he is starting to regress despite taking 15 shots in this one. If you picked him up, he is worth holding onto for a bit longer.

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard had trouble finding his rhythm in Wedensday night's 114-106 loss to the Raptors, ending with nine points (2-for-12 shooting), 10 assists, two blocks and two from deep.

    Lillard had a rough time finding the bottom of the net in this one, but still managed to get 10 dimes and two blocks. Lillard is a top-5 player right now and there is no reason to worry after tonight's performance.

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum finished the night with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal, a block and hitting three shots from deep on Wednesday.

    McCollum has been shaky this season and it was nice to see an uptick in 3-pointers and rebounds in this one. He will likely pick it up as the season continues, and if you're looking for a buy-low candidate, this might be a good target for you.

  • Rodney Hood
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Rodney Hood (back spams) returned to action on Wednesday night and dropped 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, two boards, an assist and five 3-pointers.

    Hood looks like someone that should be owned in standard leagues as he is providing nice numbers from deep and shooting 50 percent from the field this season. He's currently inside the top-120.