LOS ANGELES – Tom Thibodeau, who ranks eighth in the Western Conference with Jimmy Butler, likes the Minnesota Timberwolves to stay home with two home games.
After the last 17 games After surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee, Butler scored 18 points to help Minnesota halt a two-game losing streak with a 113-96 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers ,
Minnesota improved to 45-35 and clings to a half-game lead the Denver Nuggets (44-35) to eighth and last place in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Wolves also follow New Orleans, San Antonio and Oklahoma City – all three are currently 45- 34 – for a half game for fifth place and 1.5 games behind fourth-placed Utah (46-33).
"From four to ten you win a game and you feel like you're getting a good shot," said Thibodeau, whose team overcame a 1
Minnesota have two home games against Memphis and Denver and with Butler just in time." Butler hit 7 by In the 22nd minute, he had four steals against the Lakers (34-45).
The veteran said he did sometimes felt, and this was perhaps when the 86.5 percent free-throw shooter missed four out of eight attempts
"I play a lot on defense, I was fortunate enough to have two early [steals] and [felt] a bit Losing some missed free throws, but otherwise I felt pretty good, "Butler said about his return.
" We need them all, "Butler added later for each remaining game." We need them all , We are not satisfied with this. We have a team that we did not beat this year in Memphis on Monday. They fucked us all the year round the tail. "
Thibodeau said the team missed Butler's severity, especially late in games where the All-Star can offer points, rebounds and defense.
" I was pleasantly surprised he played, "said Thibodeau. Normally, a bit of rust will rust when a guy leaves that time. But I thought his timing was great. His free throw was not typical of who he is, but overall he was very good and he cleaned himself, and that's a good sign too.
Butler beat five of six shots and scored 11 from his points in the second half as the Wolves retreated from an injury-damaged Lakers team.
Luke Walton's team already played without Lonzo Ball (knee pain), Brandon Ingram (Concussion) and Isaiah Thomas (hip), as it lost Kyle Kuzma in the third quarter due to a slight left ankle sprain.
Kuzma, who was already playing through a sprained right ankle, had x-rays that were negative on his left ankle playing on Thursday night, but the Wolves decided to keep the guard for a game more secure. Minnesota lost that game, 100-96, in Denver.
With Butler back on the grid, all five Minnesota starters in the 19659002] Jeff Teague had 25 points and eight assists and Karl Anthony Towns 1 4 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks nac h a slow start. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolves.
"I think every game is massive," Towns said. "It's really tight, I'd rather stay in it than look outside, you know, it's great to be in that position." [But] There's no time to feel good and relax. "