February 11, 2018, 10:15 pm
This was perhaps a much closer game than many anticipated going into the contest. The Wolves have been the hottest team at home lately, winning 13 straight at home while owning the best net rating. The Kings are a bottom feeder in the Western Conference and have had a tough time scoring and defending this season no matter the venue.
Naturally the game came down to the wire with the Wolves needing to come up with big stops and clutch shots. In fact the Wolves trailed the majority of the game and had to claw back into it in the fourth quarter.
With the way the Wolves lost the last two games, they’ll take this win no matter how they got there. There were still many areas of concern, especially defensively, though at least the offense continues to hum along.
The Wolves came right out of the gate and feed Karl-Anthony Towns in the post and he responded with eight first-quarter points. On the other side, De’Aaron Fox sprinted out of the gates with 14 points in the first and led the Kings to a 29-22 first quarter.
From there the Kings remained fairly consistent. They had a solid gameplan coming into the game and stuck with it throughout, something they didn’t have before the trade deadline. Perhaps after the trade of George Hill the Kings are focused on playing to Fox’s strengths.
Defensively the Wolves didn’t do a great job slowing down the Kings when they wanted to speed up the game a bit and just seemed a step ahead in getting to their spots all night. Even when the Kings were missing, their players were in good position to rebound and get second opportunities.
On the night the Kings has 22 second-chance points to the Wolves’ 11. The Wolves had a tough night rebounding on the defensive end. The Kings took 14 more shots, and missed 11 more, yet out-rebounded the Wolves by six on the night.
The Kings are in the bottom 20 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, so this was certainly an issue that causes some concern.
As the game rolled on the Kings continued to put pressure on the Wolves. They led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, and five going into the fourth. The Wolves found a way to win in the end though. After 20 second chance points going into the third, the Wolves allowed just two in the fourth.
The offense also bailed out the Wolves once again, scoring 36 points in the final quarter to seal the game.
Minnesota can play defense in spurts as seen in a dynamic fourth quarter sequence where both Towns and Wiggins chased down Fox on a break to block his shot and the ensuing offensive rebound.
The problem is still consistency and communication. The Wolves don’t need to be an elite defense just yet because even a middle of the road defense will be able to play up thanks to their offense, which rarely takes a night off.
Tonight the Wolves shot 50 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from beyond the arc (9-of-24) and 87.5 percent from the line (28-of-32).
Towns was the leading scorer with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He added eight rebounds, six assists (including five in the fourth quarter), one steal, three blocks and two 3-pointers.
Jimmy Butler chipped in 18 points with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. He scored 11 of his 18 in the final quarter.
Andrew Wiggins had a very solid 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer.
Jeff Teague added a quiet double-double with 12 points and 10 assists on 4-of-5 shooting. His defense has still been tough to watch as he seemingly is running in mud the majority of the time.
Taj Gibson scored 15 points in one of his best games in a while, taking advantage of Zach Randolph on defense.
Up next the Wolves will host the Rockets on Tuesday. If the Wolves come out with the same (lack of) intensity they did tonight, they will get run out of the building. They’ll need to channel the play that led them through their dominant stretch in late December/early January.
If they can somehow pull off a victory, it could be just the boost the team could use heading into the stretch drive of the season.
September 21, 2019, 9:45 pmKevin KnoxSF, New York Knicks
Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.
Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.
Source: New York Post
September 21, 2019, 5:13 pmBol BolC, Denver Nuggets
According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.
Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.
Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic
September 21, 2019, 9:21 amKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.
It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.
Source: Dan Woike on Twitter
September 21, 2019, 8:31 amMalik BeasleySG, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.
The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.
Source: Denver Post
September 20, 2019, 8:49 pmOG AnunobySF, Toronto Raptors
Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."
With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.
Source: The Athletic
September 20, 2019, 4:03 pmDaryl MaconPG, Miami Heat
The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.
Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.
September 20, 2019, 1:10 pmTahjere McCallF, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.
This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp
Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter
September 20, 2019, 11:58 amThabo SefoloshaSF, Houston Rockets
Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.
Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
September 19, 2019, 3:22 pmTyler ZellerC, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.
Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.
Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter
September 19, 2019, 3:03 pmLuke KennardSG, Detroit Pistons
Coach Dwane Casey said that he is not sure if he will start Luke Kennard or have him run a lot of the second-team offense.
In addition, Casey mentioned that Kennard dealt with some knee tendinitis earlier this summer. Kennard is likely competing with Bruce Brown Jr. for the starting two-guard spot. We'll see how the rotation starts to shape in the preseason, but both players will get minutes either way.