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6 NBA things to know for Oct. 30

Jeff Case, NBA.com

Get up to speed on the latest NBA news, plus a quick look at stories we’ll be following closely today:

1. We’re feeling Minnesota: Trivia question for you: When was the last time the Timberwolves started a season 4-0? Another such beginning could be in the cards for reigning West Player of the Week Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves tonight against the (similarly) 3-0 Philadelphia 76ers (7 ET, League Pass). This one will be a must-watch if for no other reason than to watch Towns and Joel Embiid show off their rim-protecting skills.

(Trivia answer: 2001-02, when Minnesota started 6-0 … and got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Mavs.)

2. Trying to gain ground in East: The Nets and Pacers were considered preseason favorites to at least be in the playoff mix. Yet both sport losing records (Brooklyn is 1-2 and the Pacers are 0-3) and things are looking particularly dire for Indiana. The Pacers have one of the NBA’s worst defenses and a loss tonight would be their first 0-4 start since 1988-89.

3. Contenders collide in Boston: On the flip side of things from the Nets and Pacers are the Bucks and Celtics, who have — so far — lived up to expectations. This one (7:30 ET, ESPN) will provide a good test of Boston’s interior defense, while the Bucks are in the middle of the pack in that department to date.

4. A true defense vs. offense matchup: Kawhi Leonard will miss tonight’s showdown against Utah (10:30 ET, ESPN) for load management reasons. The Jazz have the league’s best Defensive Rating and, among all NBA starters, have the top four players in that category, too. The Clippers aren’t as strong in that department (so far), but have the No. 1-rated offense and lead the NBA in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage.

5. Trae will be OK: Hawks star Trae Young, one of the NBA’s top scorers to open the season, suffered a sprained right ankle last night and had to be carried off the court. There’s good news for Atlanta, though. The team announced today that Young didn’t need an MRI and will be listed as day-to-day (although he will miss Atlanta’s next game).

6. Has it been 6 years already?: Like every Kia MVP winner in league lore, Giannis Antetokounmpo had to start his NBA journey somewhere. Today marks the six-year anniversary of his Milwaukee debut, which came at Madison Square Garden. He played 4 minutes off the bench, finishing with 1 point (on 1-for-2 free throw shooting), a rebound and an assist. The Bucks’ starting forwards that game? Khris Middleton and Caron Butler.

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