• Jimmy Butler might be the early season MVP.

    I say that tongue-in-cheek, but after watching the Wolves in their last two games without him, and then tonight’s game when he made his triumphant return, you might agree.

    Okay, we don’t need to get carried away with the accolades here, but this was an impressive performance given the circumstances.

    Butler was out with illness the prior two games and his return tonight was a much needed shot in the arm. At the same time, Butler admitted that he felt significantly below 100 percent and it was tough to gauge what we could expect out of him tonight.

    What we got was vintage Butler. He scored a season-high 25 points (his first game with 20), with seven assists, five rebounds and he was able to get to the free throw line 13 times after only reaching the free throw line three times on the season. Last year, Butler was third in the NBA in free throw attempts.

    On the defensive end, he wasn’t as active as his normal self, which is to be expected, but late in the game when the Wolves needed some stops, Butler was the guy on the ball, or when the Wolves needed a rebound, it was Butler jumping in with the giants to grab it.

    Butler was the player the Wolves bargained for tonight, and it’s abundantly clear they need him out there as often as possible.

    Jimmy was so committed tonight, he ended up leading the team in minutes. He’s the cog that steers the ship. The Wolves managed to hold on for a 119-116 victory.

    Big KAT was able to out up a monster line, leading all scorers with 33 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks. He gathered seven offensive rebounds and was able to put them back up for two points on numerous occasions.

    Most impressive tonight was his interior defense. Towns showed the flashes of his tantalizing defensive upside, locking down the paint and holding that second line of defense. Towns was not shy at all to attack the ball, but he was also smart, seemingly on time with his help all night.

    This is the type of effort the Wolves are looking to get from him on a nightly basis. That is what will take this team from a mediocre, middle of the pack team to a playoff contender. We know Towns has all the offensive potential in the world, but it was defensive action tonight that stood out.

    Much like Sunday’s game, Thibs saw that the bench wasn’t going to cut it and ran with the starters, all going at least 36 minutes. Teague’s two best games have come against the Thunder, this time going for 17 points and 10 assists. He shot 50 percent from the field as well with two 3-pointers, but also had six turnovers.

    Taj Gibson had a well-rounded line with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. Wiggins scored 15, but only on 5-of-15 shooting with three rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks. He was not nearly as sharp tonight, throwing up more than a few bad shots that didn’t fall.

    As a whole, the Wolves looked more active and engaged than they had at any time their previous two games. The defense wasn’t perfect, but it looked improved. The offense broke out a few new set plays.

    I expect we’ll see even more wrinkles added by the team’s next game on Monday. They’ll have two days to prepare for that game on the road versus the Heat.

    For the Thunder, their “big three” all scored at least 23 points, Westbrook leading the way with 28. Steven Adams scored 20 points on the night as well, a season-high for him. Outside of those four, there was no reliable source of offense, which will be fairly typical going forward.

    It just so happens the Thunder don’t usually need other guys to step up. Oklahoma City has only given up more than 100 points on two occasions this season. Tonight versus the Timberwolves, and last Sunday… versus the Timberwolves.

Fantasy News

  • Klay Thompson - G - Golden State Warriors

    Klay Thompson reacted Thursday for not being selected to an All-NBA team.

    Kemba Walker beat out both Bradley Beal and Klay Thompson for the last guard spot on the All-NBA third team. Thompson was clearly frustrated when learning that he didn't receive enough votes from the media. He expressed that he doesn't believe that there are 10 guards better than him in the NBA and that making five straight NBA Finals warrants having more than two All-NBA guys on the roster. Another reason why this is important for Thompson is that he would have been eligible for a supermax contract had he earned the honor of making an All-NBA team. Therefore, Thompson will not be able to earn as much on his next contract because the media members didn't believe that he was one of the best 10 guards in the NBA.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • Draymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green told the media that he "should've been first" when asked about his selection to the All-Defensive second team.

    This is Green's fifth selection to an All-Defensive team. He earned a first team selection in the three seasons from 2014-2017 while earning second team selection the past two seasons. Every single season that Green has earned All-Defensive team honors, the Warriors have made the NBA finals. Green struggled at times during the regular season but elevated his performance in the playoffs. He may end up with the best individual playoff performance from this year when it is all said and done. Green has come a long way since being drafted in the second round in 2012.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala - G/F - Golden State Warriors

    Andre Iguodala (left calf tightness) didn't practice on Thursday, but Steve Kerr expects him to be ok by Game 1 of the NBA FInals.

    Iggy missed Game 4 against the Blazers due to the calf injury he first sustained in the Rockets series. Iguodala has another week to get right before the NBA finals start.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • DeMarcus Cousins - C - Golden State Warriors

    DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad), who was able to go through a full practice on Thursday, said he is feeling better but there is not a set game for his return as of yet.

    Cousins also mentioned that he was unsure what his role would be if/when he does return. With the Raptors and Bucks deadlocked at two games apiece, Cousins still has a week to get right before the start of the series. We will have a better timeline of his return after he and teammate Kevin Durant get re-evaluated next Wednesday.

    Source: Nick Friedell on Twitter

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    The Warriors are going to re-evaluate Kevin Durant (calf strain) and DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) next Wednesday, March 29th.

    Cousins and Durant were ruled unlikely for the start of the NBA finals earlier today, but they could be ready to roll soon after if they can get cleared next week. From the earlier reports, it seems that Cousins is closer to returning than Durant, as KD has not been cleared for basketball activities as of yet. The Warriors will play the winner of the Bucks and Raptors series that is currently knotted up at 2-2.

    Source: Mark Medina on Twitter

  • DeMarcus Cousins - C - Golden State Warriors

    DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) will not play at the start of the NBA Finals, but the Warriors expect him to return at some point in the series.

    Cousins, who was hurt back in Game 2 of the Warriors first-round series with the Clippers, seems to be farther along than Kevin Durant, who remains iffy to return. Cousins return will provide a significant boost to a team that just swept the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant (calf strain) was re-evaluated on Thursday, and the medical staff deemed him unlikely to return for start of NBA Finals, but the team remains hopeful that he can return at some point in the series

    Durant's initial diagnosis was a Grade 1 calf strain, but two weeks have now passed, and Durant's status is still murky. The non-contact injury always looked worse than the diagnosis revealed, and we may find out that more details weren't made public in the offseason. For now, the Warriors are going to have to continue to operate without the services of their superstar forward.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Klay Thompson - G - Golden State Warriors

    Since Klay Thompson did not make any of the All-NBA teams, he is not eligible to recieve a supermax contract.

    Thompson can receive just the 30 percent max according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. With Thompson failing to get supermax eligibility, it now leaves the possibility that Draymond Green can qualify for the supermax next offseason by making an All-NBA team or winning DPOY in 2020.

    Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter

  • Russell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Rounding out the All-NBA Third Team along with Russell Westbrook is LeBron James, Kemba Walker, Rudy Gobert and Blake Griffin.

    LeBron James as an All-NBA Third Team selection is plain old weird to see, but he did miss the most games in his NBA career this season. Kemba Walker made his first All-NBA team this year and is now eligible for a supermax contract with the Hornets.

    Source: drian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Joel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers

    Joel Embiid, who led the way with 375 overall selection points, was joined by Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving on the All-NBA second team.

    Many pegged Embiid to be on the All-NBA first team, but he was ultimately edged out by Nikola Jokic. The many missed games likely played a factor in that decision. Kyrie Irving held on to the last spot in what was a tightly contested selection with Russell Westbrook.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter