• Unlike the last meeting where the Wolves and Warriors were locked in a tight, low-scoring affair through halftime, the Warriors came out guns blazing tonight. They scored 38 points in the first quarter and finished with 74 at halftime.

    Running with the theme the last six games, the Wolves’ defense has been inconsistent at best, and atrocious at worst. The Wolves were consistently getting beat in transition, with 3-to-4 Warriors ahead of the pack nearly every possession.

    By halftime the Warriors had 39 fast-break points to the Wolves’ eight. It’s not the Wolves’ game to generate transition points, while the Dubs certainly do, but the 39 points was a team record for most by a team in a half since they started tracking the stat in 2002.

    The Warriors get the majority of their offense from transition, but the Wolves simply let them run all over and couldn’t give an ounce of resistance.

    They also shot 18-of-26 from 3-point range through the first three quarters, and finished the game 21-of-34, compared to the Wolves’ 6-of-20.

    Despite all that the Wolves were only outscored by four points after the first quarter. It’s cheap to bring up “moral victories” but the Wolves certainly hung in there throughout the game and didn’t allow the Warriors to empty the bench. If not for an ice-cold finish to the game the Wolves may have even had a shot to win.

    The reason was because the Wolves weren’t very impressed with the opposing defense, and Karl-Anthony Towns particularly feasted on whatever the Warriors brought at him. Towns finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and one 3-pointer. He also shot 13-of-24 from the field.

    As much as the TNT crew would like to say otherwise, the Wolves are a good offensive team. Perhaps they aren’t the most modern, and it likely can improve further, but the fact is the Wolves average the sixth most points in the NBA and hold the third best offensive rating while playing among the slowest pace in the NBA.

    The Wolves have no trouble putting up baskets. It’s always been, and will continue to be, about the defense. With Jimmy Butler out the numbers haven’t been pretty. They’re still putting up points but that’s not why they went out and acquired Butler. They got him to be the defensive stopper and leader, things they have missed the past four games.

    The Wolves don’t need to play faster, they don’t need to shoot more 3-pointers, they don’t need more offense. They need to defend, have attention to detail with the little things on that end of the floor and buy into the team defense concept.

    Can they improve the offense? Surely. They can go out and add another wing that is a deep shooting threat. He’s not going to play anymore than the last guy in the rotation if he doesn’t defend though.

    The defense can’t all be based off of one player either. There shouldn’t be an excuse for the Wolves’ poor defense because Butler is out. The team is still building towards a place where they can consistently defend at a high level no matter who steps on the court. They can look to the opposing team tonight as a clear example of a complete team buy-in on defense.

    That type of consistency wasn’t going to develop in such a short amount of time. There have already been glimpses of improvements as well. This last stretch of games though, hopefully culminating with tonight, has shown the long road still ahead.

    Overall six players finished with double-digit points for the Wolves. Jamal Crawford has been on fire since returning to the lineup. He scored 26 points tonight on 9-of-16 shooting.

    Kevin Durant finished with a triple-double, scoring 28 points with 11 assists, 10 rebounds, two steals, three blocks and six 3-pointers for the Warriors.

    Up next the Wolves return home and look to get revenge on the Brooklyn Nets.

Fantasy News

  • Rodions Kurucs
    PF, Brooklyn Nets

    Rodions Kurucs has been assigned to the Nets' G-League affiliate on Sunday.

    There were hopes that Kurucs would be able to build upon his solid rookie season heading into this one. However, he has dissapointed many with an offseason arrest and subsequent poor play through the early season. He is not on the fantasy radar, and he has a lot to prove before he returns to play on an NBA team.

    Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter

  • Delon Wright
    PG, Dallas Mavericks

    Delon Wright scored an efficient 15 points off the bench for Dallas on 6-of-8 shooting, adding four rebounds, one assist and three steals in Saturday's win over Toronto.

    Wright played well and was extremely efficient for the Mavs. The three steals are great and his value lies within his abilities to generate defensive statistics.

  • Jerome Robinson
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    A career night for Jerome Robinson who scored 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, adding five 3's, four rebounds, one assist, two steals and two blocks in Saturday's win over the Hawks.

    Robinson got an extended run in tonight's 150-101 blowout win over the Hawks. A nice game for the second-year player.

  • Terance Mann
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Getting the start, Terance Mann scored a career-high 13 points in 33 minutes of action, adding six rebounds and eight assists in Saturday's blowout win over the Hawks.

    With teammate Patrick Beverley out, Mann got the start and made the most of it earning career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. This is a great game for him, and something for him to build off of, but this type of output should not be expected again pending prolonged injuries to Beverley.

  • Paul George
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Paul George was on fire in Saturday's 150-101 blowout win against the Hawks scoring 37 points in 20 minutes, adding four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

    In only his second game back from injury, George has scored 70 points in 44 minutes of total play. Needless to say he has already found his groove. Had the game not been a blowout from the start there is no telling how many more points he would have racked up. It is also worth noting that he shot 11-of-11 from the line tonight-coupled with the 10-of-10 from last game- he has not missed a FT yet. This torrid pace is probably not sustainable but the high usage and excellent efficiency, paired with "load-management" nights for teammate Kawhi Leonard, make George a possible top-10 player this year pending any re-occurring shoulder issues.

  • Trae Young
    PG, Atlanta Hawks

    Trae Young scored 20 points (4-of-16 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the line) on Saturday with six assists and two threes in a 150-101 blowout loss vs. the Clippers.

    The Hawks were destroyed on Saturday so throw this game out the window. Young is a top-30 player so far with averages of 26.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 3.3 threes. Forget about this game and enjoy watching Trae post top-20 value this season.

  • Ivica Zubac
    C, Los Angeles Clippers

    Ivica Zubac fouled out in only 17 minutes of play after scoring seven points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks in Saturday's win over the Hawks.

    In less than 16 minutes a game this season Zubac is providing top-100 value thanks to highly efficient FG and FT percentage, high rebounds and good blocks without hurting owners anywhere. He is an easy player to own that can be picked up and dropped on the waiver-wire without raising too many eyebrows.

  • De'Andre Hunter
    SF, Atlanta Hawks

    De'Andre Hunter struggled from the floor on Saturday, shooting 5-of-14 on his way to scoring 12 points.

    Hunter added a steal and a three but he is hurting more than he is helping by shooting .369 from the field this season. The drag on field goal percentage is too big to warrant rostering Hunter right now outside of deeper leagues.

  • Montrezl Harrell
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Montrezl Harrell scored 17 points in a blowout win over the Hawks, adding four rebounds, two assists and a block in 23 minutes off the bench Saturday night.

    Harrell would have picked up a few more boards and points had the game been tighter but found his services not needed in this blowout win. He will continue to provide great energy off the bench for the Clippers and a high FG percentage, points, and rebounds for fantasy owners.

  • Lou Williams
    SG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Lou Williams scored an easy 25 points off the bench in Saturday's win over the Hawks on 5-of-13 from the field and a perfect 15-of-15 from the line, also adding six rebounds and six assists.

    In 23 minutes off the bench Williams scored 25 points, making more free throws than shots attempted. In this crazy game Williams was able to get to the line with ease and made a mockery of the Hawks' young defenders, who failed to adhere to the scouting report and fell for pump-fakes. This was an excellent game for the 14th-year guard.