February 16, 2018, 12:28 am
The Timberwolves were down 12 points at one point through the third quarter and it was looking more like the Wolves were just going to drag their feet through the latter portions of the game and into the All-Star break.
The Lakers were humming offensively, controlling the tempo and getting easy baskets all over the floor. They were dominating the offensive glass, particularly Ivica Zubac who had four offensive rebounds and put-backs on the night to go along with 19 points on 8-of-8 shooting off the bench.
The Wolves couldn’t put two stops together in a row and the Lakers’ defense started to tighten the grip. After scoring 35 in the first quarter, the Wolves trended down to 27 and then 22 in the third. It looked like they had just ran out of gas before the extended All-Star break.
Then they were able to get a couple of sparks from the vets. First it was Taj Gibson who picked up offensive rebounds and put-backs on consecutive possessions late in the third quarter. His efforts sparked a run that ignited the Wolves the rest of the game. He finished with 28 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks.
The next spark came from Jamal Crawford. He banked in a 17-footer shortly after Gibson’s efforts and it was just enough to set him into super-nova. He scored the next eight points for the Wolves, and 11-of-14 during the run. He also picked up a heads-up assist which seemed to wake Jimmy Butler up a bit.
Butler had missed a corner 3-pointer, but the ball was tipped out by Gibson straight to Crawford. Butler’s man found himself out of position and Butler cut to the basket, leaving him open for an alley-oop slam.
Butler went on to score the next nine points for the Wolves, but his signature moment came on the defensive end. Julius Randle had a sure-dunk under the rim. Towns was conceding the basket, not willing to risk picking up his sixth foul, and no one else was around. Butler seemingly came out of no where and blocked him from behind.
Randle saved the ball and passed out to Isaiah Thomas, who then attacked the rim and went up for a layup where Butler came flying in once again and blocked Thomas. This time the Wolves recovered and were able to ice the game at the line. Where Crawford and Gibson sparked the victory, Butler emphatically sealed it.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 16, 2018
In the end the Wolves were down 12 points when Gibson had his first offensive rebound and put-back late in the third, and they went on the out-score the Lakers by 20 points to close out the game with some huge momentum plays.
The Wolves have to be feeling good headed into the break after a victory like that. It wasn’t pretty but the way they closed out the game and took care of business on defense and with the energy plays in the end was the key.
As a team they shot 46.7 percent overall, but just 25 percent from beyond the arc on 6-of-24 shooting. They did make 29-of-31 at the line, however, and only turned the ball over 10 times.
In addition to Gibson’s huge line, Butler finished with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal and three blocks. He shot 7-of-20 from the floor, including 0-of-7 from the arc. He hit 10-of-11 free throws.
Crawford finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, with three assists and two 3-pointers.
Jeff Teague quietly had another nice game with 20 points, six assists, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and one block. He looks like he’s shook off his injury and is back in a groove.
Karl-Anthony Towns was quiet offensively with 10 points on 2-of-9 shooting. He made all six of his free throws, though, and added 19 rebounds, four assists and two blocks to his line.
Andrew Wiggins was noticeably absent in the entire fourth quarter. He checked out of the game for good in the third. It remains to be seen if he is injured or if this was Thibs giving Wigs an early start to the break.
He finished with 8 points on 4-of-11 shooting and four rebounds.
Most the the Wolves will get an extended All-Star break, though Butler and Towns will report to Los Angeles and participate in the All-Star weekend. Both players are only slated to play in the All-Star game, teaming up on Team Steph.
The Wolves resume live action as a team next Friday in Houston.
January 26, 2020, 12:25 amZach LaVinePG, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine was an offensive juggernaut in Saturday's 118-106 win over the Cavs scoring 44 points, on 16-of-30 shooting, while chipping in 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.
LaVine is averaging nearly 29 points a game in the month of January and has notched 40-plus points in three games this month. Beyond the scoring he has been very efficient during the stretch while also providing across the board in other categories. Remarkably, he is averaging just shy of two steals a game putting him in top-40 territory, in terms of return on investment.
January 26, 2020, 12:24 amAnthony DavisPF-C, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis shot 13-of-22 from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc on his way to scoring 31 points with seven rebounds, two steals and one block in a 108-91 loss to the Sixers on Saturday.
Davis was questionable with a glute injury, but he was able to play and show why he's the number one player in 9-cat this season. Davis is a fantasy stud and should be a top-2 player ROS.
January 26, 2020, 12:20 amKris DunnPG, Chicago Bulls
Kris Dunn notched his fifth-straight double digit scoring effort with 10 points in Saturday's win over the Cavs, chipping in five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Dunn's minutes have crept up a bit in the month of January and he has responded by averaging nearly two steals a game to go along with respectable countable numbers. The low scoring output is ok in this one as he made four of the six shots that he attempted, providing an semi-efficient game as he made all two of his shots from the charity stripe.
January 26, 2020, 12:17 amLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James scored 29 points on Saturday to pass Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
James added eight assists and seven rebounds on this historic night but was unable to get the win as the Lakers lost 108-91 to the Sixers. LeBron will continue to chug along with top-10 value ROS and is now only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone on the all-time scoring list.
January 26, 2020, 12:12 amTomas SatoranskyPG, Chicago Bulls
Tomas Satoransky scored 19 points, on 8-of-11 shooting, in Saturday's win over the Cavs, chipping in six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
After failing to score in double digits in the past five games, Satoransky woke up and dropped 19 in this one. This is his highest scoring output this month and it was paired well with an all-around efficient game, not to mention the three steals. With so many backcourt options it is hard to trust him on a night-to-night basis but this one reminds fantasy owners of what he is capable of producing.
January 26, 2020, 12:10 amKyle KuzmaPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma flopped on Saturday with four points (2-of-6 from the field) and five rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench.
Kuzma posted a dud and his fantasy value is tied heavily to his scoring. He's outside the top-220 the past month with 14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 threes per game. He's a late-round value at his best and is worth trying to sell high since his name value may be greater than his fantasy value.
January 26, 2020, 12:06 amThaddeus YoungPF, Chicago Bulls
Thaddeus Young scored 11 points in Saturday's win over the Cavs, chipping in three rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block in 35 minutes of game play.
With both teammates Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. injured, Young is not only getting the start but also playing major minutes in their absences. He is definitely worth a look in the short-term as he is a nice source of defensive statistics while not fantasy owners in any particular area.
January 26, 2020, 12:03 amBen SimmonsPG, Philadelphia Sixers
Ben Simmons flourished on Saturday with 28 points (12-of-15 shooting), 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals in a 108-91 victory over the Lakers.
LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant on the career scoring list, but Ben Simmons ruined his night and dominated on both ends of the court in an impressive win for a short-handed Sixers team. Simmons was already on a roll with Joel Embiid out and will be even better with Josh Richardson also sidelined. Ben Simmons owners will enjoy the next few weeks.
January 25, 2020, 11:56 pmTobias HarrisSF, Philadelphia Sixers
Tobias Harris scored a team-high 29 points while shooting 10-of-20 from the field and 6-of-7 from the line to go with eight rebounds and three triples on Saturday.
Harris is inside the top-50 on the season as an efficient scorer averaging 19.5 points per game while shooting .478 from the field and .801 from the line. He was an 86 percent free throw shooter last season and is shooting .838 the past month so he's trending up in that area too.
January 25, 2020, 11:45 pmMatisse ThybulleSG-SF, Philadelphia Sixers
Matisse Thybulle swiped five steals on Saturday and added six points, one block and two triples in 36 minutes.
If you're rostering Thybulle, it is for defensive stats like this. Thybulle has increased value in the short-term with Josh Richardson and Joel Embiid sidelined and he's averaging 2.6 steals and 1.6 blocks in 30.8 minutes the past seven games.