• Of all the bad losses on the season, and there have been a number of them, this game comfortably ranks as one of the very worst.

    Up against the team with the worst record in the NBA, the Wolves walked into Atlanta as heavy favorites to come out on top. As the game kicked off it looked like the Wolves would be able to control the game and coast to a victory. They led early, the offense was flowing and they were generating a lot of turnovers on defense.

    They were getting beat on the glass, but the Hawks are the worst rebounding team in the NBA so it was more of a matter of “when” than “if” the Wolves would climb back into that race.

    Naturally that was not the case.

    After the Wolves built the lead all the way up to 11 points in the third quarter, the wheels just completely fell off.

    The rebounding woes continued (Wolves were only a plus-one in the second half), they stopped capitalizing on turnovers (seven points on 11 turnovers in the second half as opposed to 17 points on 10 first half turnovers) and the Wolves made a fair share of bone-headed mistakes themselves.

    This was a loss than can be attributed to a number of people. Jeff Teague made just 1-of-12 from the floor and make critical mistakes in the final quarter. He picked up a late technical foul, he forced the ball into Butler which led to a turnover, he made a terrible foul on a driving Bazemore and finally called a timeout on an inbounds when the Wolves had none.

    The last one can be blamed squarely on Thibs and the bench. With 14 seconds left and the Wolves down one, Teague was unable to inbound the ball and ultimately received a five-second violation.

    From the look of it the play call was not properly drawn up, or wasn’t communicated correctly because players seemed unsure where to go, and no one seemed to realize they were out of timeouts.

    Jamal Crawford thought he was in the game and Taj Gibson thought he was out, but they were both wrong. When the play broke down players stood around expecting Teague to call a timeout instead of trying to get open.

    Those are mistakes that can be blamed on the coaches. Poor play calling and poor execution led to that turnover and the ultimate final nail in the coffin. From there the Hawks nailed two free throws to go up three and Butler walked up the floor and took a tough contested 3-pointer that was never close.

    There was enough time to run a play, but Butler decided to isolate and play the hero.

    Butler finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer. He shot 7-of-15 from the field and 9-of-9 form the line.

    Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, adding three assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer. Unfortunately he only took eight shots, hitting six of them. It’s the fourth time in the last six games he’s taken fewer than 10 shots. This trend is certainly not ideal.

    There are a number of ways to get Towns more involved as gifted as he is. He’s not a limited big man but his talents have been squandered lately.

    Teague added 10 assists, four steals and one block to his 1-of-12 shooting, salvaging some of his night.

    The team did more than enough to win the game, shooting 47 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from 3-point range, 83.3 from the line, while only committing 13 turnovers to 24 assists. It really just came down to the lack of execution and mistakes in the final few minutes of the contest.

    The visible disappointment around the team was obvious as they squandered away a very winnable game. Now they travel to Toronto and take on one of the best in the east on the back-end of a back-to-back, making this loss even tougher.

Fantasy News

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap had a throwback game on Thursday, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting with nine rebounds, two assists and two triples.

    Millsap continues to turn back the clock with his performances and he did so in only 27 minutes tonight. This is all with Jerami Grant (12 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two triples) also providing value. Mason Plumlee (10 points, seven rebounds and two assists) was actually vital in tonight's double-digit deficit comeback. The main guy to own right now is Millsap, but beware of his mileage.

  • Taurean Prince
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Tauren Prince had an inefficient night shooting the ball on Thursday, going 5-for-15 from the floor on his way to 12 points with eight rebounds, two assists and two triples.

    Prince should be able to churn out some standard-league value while Caris LeVert (thumb) is sidelined for the next few weeks. He won't be as good as he was on the Hawks. but the points, triples and steals are still there and he's a top-90 player so far this year.

  • Joe Harris
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Joe Harris scored nine points on 4-of-11 shooting with three rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Harris was held to only nine points tonight and only attempted three shots from deep. He should be much better on the next one and while he won't light up the scoreboard, the triples should come at a higher rate.

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets to their 101-93 win over the Nets on Thursday with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers.

    Jokic's line is still under what he usually delivers and again, we're preaching patience here. He always takes a bit of time to warm up and there's no doubt in our minds that he'll be due for a top-15 finish.

  • Will Barton
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Will Barton played a game-high 38 minutes on Thursday, scoring 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.

    Barton had another solid night scoring the ball and the Nuggets offense should have enough usage for him to provide some decent value. The Nuggets are actually sputtering on offense, ranked 22th in ORTG on the year and they'll need Barton to continue to be himself on offense.

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Malik Beasley sat out Thursday's game vs. the Nets with an illness.

    Beasley sitting gave more time for Monte Morris (19 minutes, 10 points, three rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a triple) and it's a known fact that Morris is standard-league value when he gets enough time. It's just a short-term injury though, so Beasley should be re-inserted again soon.

  • Jamal Murray
    PG, Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray had an awful game on Thursday, scoring four points on 1-of-11 shooting to go with five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a 3-pointer.

    Murray was getting all of the attention and collapsed on every time he drove in the paint. He's prone to some shooting slumps like this, but as we've seen before, he busts out of them in a huge way.

  • Gary Harris
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Gary Harris filled up the stat sheet on Thursday, scoring ten points on 4-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and two triples.

    Harris's line was exactly what owners should be seeking. He got it done across the board and hit his triples. The top-40 days are long gone, but Harris is more than serviceable for standard leagues as the main man in Denver at shooting guard.

  • Kyrie Irving
    PG, Brooklyn Nets

    Kyrie Irving scored 17 points on 8-of-20 shooting to go with six rebounds, nine assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in Thursday's 93-101 loss to the Nuggets.

    Irving couldn't get his shot to fall in the second half, but he still delivered on the dimes tonight. He's still one of the top players in the league and if a slow stretch can pry open even the smallest buy-low window, you have to pounce on it. The only warning sign is his health as he played through a shoulder injury today.

  • Jarrett Allen
    C, Brooklyn Nets

    Jarret Allen scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a block on Thursday.

    Allen had a monster game, contesting almost every shot in the paint, but the Nets just couldn't keep things going in the second half. He's clearly the better player between he and DeAndre Jordan (17 minutes, zero points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a block) and it's good to see the minutes reflect that.