The pressure is on the Wolves for the last two games of this road trip, starting tonight in Sacramento against the Kings. Having lost the first two, they have dropped back below .500 and into 13th place in the West. The Kings meanwhile are enjoying their finest extended start in a long time at 14-12. De’Aaron Fox is emerging as a top point guard, and they have shot the ball very well all season.
Old friend Nemanja Bjelica continues to be a part of things for the Kings, starting at the four and leading them in ws/48 and true shooting percentage. It was the Kings who capped off the Wolves winless five game road trip in November that finally forced their hand on the Jimmy Butler situation.
More on tonight’s game later today.
Meanwhile, a nice thing from last night: James Nunnally got his jersey retired at his high school, Weston Ranch, and many of his teammates showed up:
Elsewhere, an article at ESPN from yesterday about the pipeline of Australian players of South Sudanese decent who are finding opportunities in the U.S. in part thanks to Luol Deng’s work.
Some random notes:
Hopefully we start seeing more of the Towns-Dario Saric pairing, as we did to some extent in Oakland. Of Towns’ ten most played two-man combos, he and Saric have by far the highest net rating at +12.6 per Basketball-Reference.
As I mentioned in the recap, Thibs has got to sort out the back court rotation better. Derrick Rose is playing too many minutes, and especially too many minutes in a row recently. He’s beginning to come back to earth shooting it, but more to the point, the are getting badly hurt on the defensive end with the Teague-Rose pairing. Overall that pairing remains just positive (+1.1) but its extended use is exposing it recently.
Of course that’s on everyone involved, including Jeff Teague, who seems to have misplaced his game. Always hesitant to shoot it, he’s become even more so over recent games. He has 12 3PA over his last seven games.
This actually tracks with the team as a whole, which is a bit disquieting. They averaged nearly 31 3PA a game in November, but only 23 per so far in December, even though they are making 40 percent of them this month.
Spurs advance in Champions League! After managing only one point through their first three group games, Spurs got the point they needed at the Camp Nou against Barcelona with a late equalizer yesterday, and got through in a bit of a miracle.