11/4 Timberwolves @ Blazers Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Blazers: 111, Timberwolves: 81

In what was a gloomy night with General Soreness, Jeff Teague, and Derrick Rose out, the Wolves showed little life. Tonight’s Rapid Reactions will be a little different. The reactions will be mostly from the fans, getting their thoughts on the game. Let’s dive in!

My Thoughts:

Your Thoughts:

As you can tell, all is good in Wolves land. Sleep well Wolves nation.

And as always, ice up, you don’t want general soreness.

11/2 Timberwolves @ Warriors Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Warriors: 116, Timberwolves: 99

Timberwolves:

  • Minnesota held with the Warriors for most of the game, but the Warriors made their typical fourth quarter run to put Minnesota away. However, the Timberwolves’ play up until the halfway mark in the fourth was encouraging.
  • Minnesota was not shy from the three-point line. The Wolves attempted 45 threes in the game, but they connected on just 13 of the tries. In contrast, the Warriors made just as many threes, but it took Golden State 11 less attempts.
  • Jimmy Butler was ice cold from three. After a great display of three-point shooting in the win over the Lakers on Monday, Butler was 0-8 from three tonight. Butler forced a number of shots throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter when Minnesota needed a bucket.
  • The Timberwolves move the ball with Tyus Jones. The Wolves’ ball movement with and without Jones in the game is a completely different story. Jones recorded eight assists tonight, and when he was on the bench, the Wolves lost all ball movement.
  • The Timberwolves only turned the ball over five times, yet they still lost by double-digits. Against the Warriors, Minnesota needed to play a perfect game to come out with the victory, and in terms of turnovers, they did just that.

Warriors:

  • When Golden State gets DeMarcus Cousins healthy, this team will quite literally be unbeatable. Teams currently have a chance to play a perfect game to beat Golden State. However, when the Warriors add another all-star into their lineup, teams might as well not even show up to the arena.
  • Steph Curry makes basketball look so easy. Curry barely broke a sweat tonight, yet he managed 28 points on 11-24 shooting from the field. In what seemed like a “quiet” performance for Curry, games like this could help boost Curry into another MVP-type season.
  • Golden State dominated the glass. The Warriors controlled the boards on both sides of the ball, gathering 61 total rebounds, compared to Minnesota’s 39 rebounds. The Warriors kept Minnesota off the offensive glass, something the Timberwolves have been very good at this season.
  • No matter how much you like or dislike the Warriors, they are super fun to watch. The Warriors move the ball like no other team in the NBA. When the Warriors are having fun and flying the ball around the court, there isn’t quite anything that compares in terms of pure ball movement.

10/29 Lakers @ Timberwolves Rapid Reactions

Timberwolves and Lakers

Final Score: Timberwolves: 124, Lakers: 120

Timberwolves:

  • It was a much better night for the Timberwolves after a putrid showing last Friday night against the Bucks. Minnesota’s offense was firing on all cylinders. The defense was a different story, but the offense was enough against the Lakers.
  • Butler was on fire in the four quarter. Butler paved the way for Minnesota in the fourth, including his ridiculous, clutch three to seal the win. Overall, Jimmy recorded 32 points on 12-20 shooting from the field, including 6-7 from three. While it’s clear the Wolves need to trade Butler, it would be nice if Butler continues to help Minnesota get wins until then.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns plays his most active game of the season. KAT put up 25 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Towns was active on both ends of the floor, which included Towns grabbing nine offensive rebounds.
  • I continue to not understand Derrick Rose. Unfortunately, Thibs still thinks Rose is the former MVP, so when Rose struggles, Thibs leaves him in the game. Rose shot 4-16 from the field tonight in 29 minutes. Rose continues to be an up-and-down player for the Wolves, but he continues to get heavy minutes.
  • The Timberwolves dominated points at the charity stripe. Minnesota recorded 26 points at the line, compared to Los Angeles’ 10. For the Lakers, it’s hard to win games with that big of a disparity at the free-throw line.

Lakers:

  • The Lakers continue to play fast, really fast. Coming into the night, the Lakers played with the fourth fastest pace in the league. Contrary to LeBron’s normal pace of play, the Lakers continue to run with the ball. If the Lakers can tighten up on defense, their offense can lead them to great heights.
  • JaVale McGee is turning into a valuable player for Los Angeles. McGee has been great at running the floor and protecting the paint this season, and that continued tonight. McGee put up 13 points and blocked three shots in tonight’s game. If McGee continues to do the small things to help the Lakers win, he will continue to see more and more minutes.
  • Lonzo Ball had a rough night. Ball was a team worst -11 tonight, and he shot 0-4 from three. Ball has improved this season, but his four points and one assist tonight was not one of his best games.
  • The Lakers can’t afford to drop too many more games in a row to start the season. Los Angeles is off to a 2-5 start to the season, and in a brutally tough Western Conference, there isn’t a lot of breathing room. The Lakers will look to get back on track against the Dallas Mavericks on Halloween night.

 

10/28 Wizards @ Clippers Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Wizards 104, Clippers 136

Washington Wizards:

What in the world is going on with this Wizards team?

  • Hey! The rebounding wasn’t an issue! You wan’t to know why? Because there practically weren’t any to grab! The Clippers shot a blistering 54% from the field and 55% from beyond the arc. Washington had one defensive lapse on top of another, and there was a lacksidasical effort all across the board tonight. This season (so far) was perfectly summed up in a John Wall mishandled ball in which he lost and then simply stood next to the grapple for the ball, watching his teammates wreslte to grab his own error.
  • Otto Porter has caught his share of criticism from head coach Scott Brooks throughout past games, and didn’t do much tonight to change his stance on Porter’s play. In thirty minutes, the forward made six shots on 33% shooting, along with a few boards and assists. The poor effort, along with the early exit of Markieff Morris, spelled early disaster for this team. HOWEVER, that does not excuse the accompanying white flag that came from the remaining starters in the game.
  • Although it is very early in the season, there seems to be the possibility of some possible locker-room dysfunction already. Accountability was an issue last season, and in a year where it has already gone not-so-according to plan, this could be an problem that tears a team apart. In what feels like a make-or-break year for the head coach, and even some players on the team, this is not a good look for what was figured to be a promising year for this group.

Play of the Game: This feels like a game not-so-deserving of one. In fact, I am incredibly tempted to put a “Not Play of the Game”. In a bad performance, usually there is still a bright spot, but today there isn’t a whole lot of positives surrounding this team currently.

 

Los Angeles Clippers:

  • This was a performance that should get Clippers fans excited for the outlook of their team. The feelings surrounding this franchise coming into the season were mixed, with some thinking this was a bridge season until the team could find its next star, and others intrigued by the possibilities and potential this cast presents. This performance, and especially the success of shooting from deep, shows the ability of this team even without a true “superstar”.
  • The Clippers got great production off the bench, especially from fan favorite Boban Marjanovic tonight. That bench stumped both the starting and reserve units of the Washington team this evening. Combined with a great defensive efforts from their starters, this is a recipe for the type of team LA will have to be if they want to be a serious threat in the West come late in the year.
  • A great point was brought up during the Clippers broadcast late in the third quarter- “This team doesn’t have a superstar caliber player, and that may not be the worst thing in the world”. Doc Rivers through these few games has shown tremendous coaching in the lineups and skill he has brought out of his players. This team will need to embody the old fashioned “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” style, and they have the potential to do so.

Play of the Game: With 2:40 left in the first quarter, Bradley Beal grabbed a rebound and attempted a layup to make it a one score game. Avery Bradley flew in to swat the ball away, setting the defensive tone early and keeping the Wizards behind.

10/28 Jazz @ Mavericks Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Jazz 113, Mavericks 104

Utah Jazz:

  • Georges Niang. Have you heard that name before? If not, remember it, because he’s been ballin’ for the Utah Jazz and will only be getting more minutes as the season progresses if he continues to play at the level that he is. Niang’s basketball IQ is high, as he makes great reads and takes good shots consistently. He finished the night with 13 points on 4-5 shooting in 13 minutes.
  • Early on Mavs players could not stay in front of Jazz players on defense. Utah had easy access to the basket in the first half, although in the latter part of the game Dallas did improve on that front.
  • Six consecutive double-doubles for Rudy Gobert to start the season. First time that’s been done for Utah since Carlos Boozer back in the day. Gobert finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
  • The confusing season of Ricky Rubio continues. After posting 28 points and 12 assists in New Orleans, Rubio had just 6 points on 2-9 shooting. He did have 8 assists, however.
  • Grayson Allen has taken advantage of the minutes he’s received early on this season. He had the best +/- of any Jazz player with a +17 on a perfect 3/3 shooting night with 11 points. With all the pieces the Jazz have, it’ll be interesting to see how minutes are distributed to the rookie as we move along.

Dallas Mavericks:

  • The Jazz were cruising early on in this one but started to lose their way some in the 2nd quarter due partly to Dallas’ increased defense and advantage in the turnover margin. At halftime the Mavs forced 13 turnovers, but had nine of their own.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. is a legit young talent in this league. The Mavs building around Smith and Doncic is as good of a plan during a rebuild that you can have for a team. Smith caught fire in the 3rd quarter, scoring a total of 27 points on the night.
  • Smith had a good night, but also made some costly mistakes down the stretch. In a game which the Mavs remained in striking distance, Smith missed two layups as the Mavs were going on a run and committed a couple of late fouls. For Smith to take the next step he has to start sinking those layups and playing a full game of consistent basketball.
  • Overall tonight Dallas played well and gave Utah a good fight. This is the best Mavs team I think I’ve seen in a few years, and should play solid basketball moving forward.

10/26 Bucks @ Timberwolves Rapid Reactions

Bucks and Timberwolves

Final Score: Bucks: 125, Timberwolves: 95

Timberwolves:

  • What a brutal showing. This isn’t the way Minnesota wanted to play in front of a solid Target Center showing on a Friday night. There is so much going on around the team, that everyone is starting to wonder how long the drama can go on. While the players are expected to be professionals, there is little doubt the drama is bothering the team and carrying over into their performances.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns had a brutal first half, performed better in the third quarter. Towns finished the first half with two points. Yes, you heard that right. The All-NBA Center had just two points at half. He was getting shots, but not hitting them. Fortunately, Towns had a terrific third quarter. KAT recorded 14 points in the third quarter, on 6-8 shooting in that frame. With tonight’s 16-point showing, Towns is now averaging just 16.3 points per game. That number is a cause for concern. Maybe it’s a matter of time before he heats up, or maybe the Butler situation is taking a toll on the big man, but things need to change.
  • Timberwolves go cold from three. After shooting 50% from three in Toronto on Wednesday, the Timberwolves were 10-43 (23.3%) from three tonight. It’s good to see Minnesota taking more threes, but they were not hitting the shots tonight, so it would’ve been nice to see Minnesota attack the basket more.
  • Minnesota has a big night on the offensive boards. One slight positive from tonight’s game was Minnesota’s effort on the offensive glass. Minnesota grabbed 17 offensive rebounds in the game, turning those rebounds into second chance points. While Minnesota has struggled grabbing defensive rebounds at times this season, the Wolves have been terrific crashing the offensive glass.
  • How long can the Jimmy Butler saga continue? Tonight’s effort was pathetic, and it won’t be getting any easier for Minnesota. Sitting at 2-4 with their next six games against the Lakers, Jazz, Warriors, Blazers, Clippers, and Lakers again, the Timberwolves have no easy upcoming contests.

Bucks:

  • Milwaukee was about as hot as a team can get from three. The Bucks shot 19-46 (41.3%) from deep. Middleton led the way making four threes with Henson and Lopez each connecting on three shots from deep.
  • Mike Budenholzer is the right coach for this group. The Bucks have started the season 5-0 and look primed for success this year. In a game where Giannis was held under 20 points, the Bucks handled Minnesota easily. If the Bucks continue to get support around Giannis, they will be in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
  • Donte DiVincenzo knows how to play. DiVincenzo won’t always make his presence felt in the box score, but the rookie understands the game. DiVincenzo made a number of hustle plays tonight and recorded nine points. For DiVincenzo, he has the chance to develop into a great role player for Milwaukee this season.
  • The Bucks shared and moved the basketball. Milwaukee recorded 32 assists on their 49 made field goals. Compared to the Wolves’ 19 assists on their 36 made field goals, Milwaukee moved the ball and found the open shooter in Minnesota.

10/26 Mavericks vs Raptors Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Dallas 107, Toronto 116

Toronto Raptors

  • Pascal Siakam is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. The big man can take you outside and knock it down as well as put it on the floor. Siakam relentlessly runs the floor and is a quality passer for a big.
  • Danny Green is just a good basketball player. He is exactly what you want in a wing for today’s brand of basketball. Perfect fit next to Lowry.
  • When Jonas Valančiūnas took off for that sky hook in the 2nd quarter and put it in I stood up and yelled. I love that man so much.
  • I didn’t like the all-bench lineups for the extended amount of time they played. Nurse might be able to get away with it in short stretches but shouldn’t look to it often.
  • Kyle Lowry is the BEST Point Guard in the East right now. This man is playing incredible basketball. The command he has of the offense and the leadership that is clearly on display is second to none in the conference right now at the position.
  • Lowry had two passes in the first quarter that were just stellar. The bounce pass to Siakam and then the touch pass to Valančiūnas.
  • This Raptors team does everything well. They shot 48% from the field, 40% from three and hit 85% of their free throws. They don’t have a weakness offensively.

Who’s Up: Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam

Who’s Down: Serge Ibaka

Next Up: Monday @ Bucks

Dallas Mavericks

  • You can never count out a Rick Carlisle led basketball team. They always play with great energy on both ends, are fundamentally sound, and don’t beat themselves. Whenever Toronto would pull ahead Dallas would grit their teeth and get back in it.
  • Luka doesn’t have elite quickness or athleticism, but this guy has poise beyond his years and his patience with the ball in his hands is already elite.
  • Harrison Barnes made his season debut tonight. He definitely looked a bit rusty shooting just 5-17, but he will provide a much-needed scoring presence for this team.
  • Wes Matthews looked like an actual all-around player again in this game. Until tonight, I wasn’t sure if he could do anything inside the three-point line anymore.
  • Jalen Brunson is definitely a guy. He didn’t shoot well tonight, but make no mistake about it, this 2nd round pick can play in this league.
  • Deandre Jordan is the ever consistent 7-foot monster. You know exactly what you are going to get from him. Tonight, he gave 18 and 15 on 50% shooting.
  • Dallas really played a decent game, but just could never overcome the slow start. Dennis Smith didn’t play tonight, might have been a different outcome with his electric game in the Dallas backcourt.

Who’s Up: Wesley Matthews, Maximillian Kleber

Who’s Down: Harrison Barnes(rusty)

Next Up: Sunday vs Jazz

(I had to put this. I loved this play so much)

 

10/25 Nuggets @ Lakers Rapid Reactions

Final score: Lakers 121, Nuggets 114

Los Angeles Lakers

  • It seems like the panic and overreactions from the season-opening three-game skid are gone now. That’s not two wins in a row for the Lakers, both without Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo in the lineup. This was their first home victory, and it came against a previously undefeated Nuggets team that had been playing as well as any in the league. Now everyone can settle down.
  • OK, let’s not kid ourselves. Every Lakers game during the LeBron James era is going to be treated like a do-or-die playoff affair.
  • LeBron posted his first triple-double as a Laker with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He added three steals, but is still struggling from long range. LeBron made just 1-of-5 from three-point territory.
  • JaVale McGee (21 points, 7 rebounds) picked up two goaltending violations in the first quarter. Not sure if he was intentionally doing the intimidation thing that Patrick Ewing did at Georgetown, but the Nuggets did miss a lot of close shots throughout the game so it may have worked.
  • McGee has been using a Sky Hook lately that looks really good. Everyone’s hesitant to evoke the name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but it’s hard not to think it given the uniform.
  • Lance Stephenson (12 points) had the most Lance Stephenson stretch in the second half. On one possession he was flying around at 110 miles per hour, hustling for an offensive rebound and wildly creating a turnover with his out-of-control offense. A bit later, he looked as smooth as ever when he calmly used a crossover to set up a clutch step-back three.
  • The Lakers are better when they shoot fewer three-pointers and set their minds to attack the basket. On this night, 29 of their 92 shot attempts were threes, and they also shot 23 free throws.
  • Johnathan Williams is going to earn more and more minutes if he keeps hustling and playing hard. His game is reminiscent of Tristan Thompson back when Tristan was hungry.
  • Lonzo Ball (12 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals) seemed unsure of himself, and coach Luke Walton seemed unsure of what to do with Lonzo, during L.A.’s first two games. But with Rondo out of the lineup serving his suspension, Lonzo has been able to play more point guard and do what he does best. He looked entirely comfortable, confident and in his element on Thursday.

Denver Nuggets

  • The Nuggets suffered their first loss of the season. They looked on their way to a 5-0 start before L.A. went on a 17-4 run sparked by an energetic Staples Center crowd. The Nuggets are going to be good and look like a playoff team, but they still have to learn how to close games consistently, especially on the road.
  • Sometimes the Nuggets can over-pass and miss the opportunity for a good shot because they’re looking for an even better one. That may be a symptom of not having an established go-to guy whose mentality is to take over when a bucket is needed. Nikola Jokic is becoming that guy, but he’s not quite there yet.
  • Jokic finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but he committed six turnovers (next to just three assists) and missed a lot of shots close to the basket that should’ve been easy.
  • Jamal Murray (22 points, 8-17 FG) plays like he wants to be that go-to guy, but he can get a little too aggressive hunting his own shot.
  • Paul Millsap is too good to only have six points in 29 minutes. He’s a recent All-Star and an elder statesmen on this young Denver squad. He should be more of a presence out there. Millsap had a chance to make a big defensive stop late in the fourth quarter, but LeBron just overpowered him to get an easy layup.

 

 

10/25 Celtics vs Thunder Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Boston 101, OKC 95

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Donovan changed up the starting lineup tonight. Not exactly the change Thunder fans were expecting, but Grant blended in nicely.
  • Can Ferguson do anything right offensively?
  • The defensive frenzy OKC put on display in the first half was nice to see. While Boston was simply missing some good looks OKC defended incredibly hard.
  • Now the third quarter was a different story. OKC went back to their old ways and were lazy defending the 3 point line. Boston absolutely tore them apart.
  • Russ didn’t shoot particularly well, but it was nice to see him shooting 3’s off the ball. He is clearly a little rusty. Only going to get better. 
  • The free throws continue to be a problem for this Thunder team. 14-25 on the night. Yikes!
  • Outside of the magical 3rd quarter in the opener PG hasn’t been great offensively. The All Star Small Forward had another poor shooting night going a measly 7-22.
  • This Thunder team has to adapt. They need to play a different kind of basketball. They don’t know who they are yet and until they do are going to continue to see more L’s pile up.

Who’s up: Jerami Grant, Hamidou Diallo, Patrick Patterson

Who’s Down: Paul George, Terrance Ferguson

Next Up: Sunday vs Suns

Boston Celtics

  • Boston needed a good performance coming into tonight’s game and the 16 point start was not exactly what I’d label a “good performance”.
  • This may be unnecessary, but I am going to say it anyway. I am NOT a fan of what Kyrie has going on with his hair right now.
  • A rough first half for Boston, but they outscored OKC 40-23 in the 3rd to take the lead going into the 4th.
  • These guys COULD NOT MISS in the third. Threes were flying from all over the court and Al Horford is really good at basketball.
  • Terry Rozier played some phenomenal defense tonight. He’s a great high motor guy who is relentless on both ends of the floor. 6th man of the year candidate for sure.
  • Marcus Morris has a habit of making big shots against OKC and he did so again tonight. He had 21 on the night and the biggest shot in the game. 
  • Boston made 10 more free throws than the Thunder on the night as well.
  • At what point does Boston become a little worried about Hayward? Just 5 points on 5 shots tonight.
  • Jayson Tatum is a stud. I am wondering how long before we call this Tatum’s team?Are we there already? Surely not, but the question does linger.

Who’s up: Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum

Who’s Down: Gordon Hayward

Next Up: Saturday @ Pistons

10/24 Wizards @ Warriors Rapid Reactions

Final Score: Wizards 122, Warriors 144

Washington Wizards:

  • Same reaction, different game, right? Four games in, the Wizards own the worst rebounding differential in the NBA. Tonight, Washington had neither Dwight Howard or Ian Mahimi to start at center, technically giving Jason Smith the “start”, although he only saw 11 minutes. Maybe it’s Thomas Bryant time? I mean this team BADLY (and I repeat, BADLY) needs a defensive presence under the rim, or will continue to find themselves on the losing end of both the rebounding stats and the box score. Jeff Green, Markeiff Morris, and Jason Smith simply aren’t getting the job done, understandably.
  • The starters played low minutes tonight, a good call by head coach Scott Brooks after a long game in Portland and what is only the second game of a five game West Coast trip. Washington seemed to resist throwing in the towel until late in the third when Steph Curry caught fire. (Again) John Wall only played 27 minutes, and no other starter played more than that. While this may be an L, and a foreseeable one at that, one positive is that hopefully this gives the Wizards an extra edge for their next couple of games.
  • It felt helpless for this team tonight, didn’t it? Washington went into halftime with 71 points and STILL was down nine. It seemed like althroughout the first half the game went almost bucket for bucket. No real runs by this offense, just a bucket or two to keep them sitting eight or so points away. That was, until the third quarter- an entirely different story. This Wizards team kept the pace, with almost 100 points midway through the third, but man… Steph Curry. That’s all I have to say. It’s tough to be on pace to smash your highest scoring game this season and STILL be down considerably.

Play of the Game:  See below in the Warriors’ Play of the Game.

Golden State Warriors:

  • As a Wizards fan, my basketball fandom heart hurts a little everytime they play the Warriors. Similarly to when they played Toronto with Kahwi Leonard the other night, I think “*insert player Washington passed in the draft* could have been on this team.” But, instead we draft the likes of- well, I don’t even want to get into it. The pain is only a google search away. ANYWAYS, the Warriors deserve credit (which they get) for building such a juggernaut of a roster. Key players have stayed for years and the team focuses immensely on player development and chemistry. Some feel like they have to get to know new bench players every year for the team too, which is also true, but is another display of the roster brilliance. It just always works, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
  • Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were fantastic this evening. Steph was *this* close to beating his career high. Oracle doesn’t take much to get loud for in the first place, so you can imagine the atmosphere when Steph came within two of breaking the all-time threes record. (That he broke himself previously, twice) He even played efficiently driving to the basket, and it was absolutely his night. Durant made his presence known all over the court, with a couple of slams that got the crowd and the team going, as well as some beautiful fadeaway midrange shots against some flawless defense. The Warriors took advantage of some great switches and mismatches in the first half, but just simply heated up in the second half.
  • Draymond Green took a role that was both surprising and incredibly unselfish tonight. He played the role of facilitator, with 12 assists and only 5 points. With Steph and Klay both having the hot hand, Draymond took it upon himself to find a role best for the team tonight as opposed to finding his own shot and risk taking away the incredible flow the offense carried. This brand of unselfish basketball shows Golden State’s true potential, as sometimes individual performances seem to be prioritized, but that was not the case in this one.

Play of the Game: I’m gonna lay it to you straight, I don’t have one- for either team. This was the kind of game that if you’re a Warrior fan you LOVE (understandably) and if you’re a Wizards fan, you shake your head at. There seemed to be so many shots taken and so many makes that it’s hard to pick one. You could take ANY of Steph’s threes or Durant’s midrange beauties. For the Wizards- there were a few Bradley Beal makes that were sweet? Maybe a Keef 3 pointer or two? Regardless, this style of throw-it-up, defenseless basketball is tough to keep up with. That doesn’t make it a less entertaining game, but truly analyzing a game like this is harder. Although, maybe that’s because I’m on the East Coast- and tired.