SAN ANTONIO – It did not exactly lead the bank warmers to victory over the starters in a scrimmage, but Jimmy Butler – even in a somewhat rusty shape – again illustrated his value for the Timber Wolves in their season opening 112 -108 loss to the Spurs at Wednesday
With eight points behind and three and a half minutes of playing time in the water, Minnesota found himself back in the game, mostly through Butler's playmaker. The four-time All-Star, who had asked for a trade and had a strike-breaking outburst in a recent practice, set the team on the back after scoring and either scoring or supporting eleven of the team's 14 final points.
Butler, who re-tackled the game with a 1
Butlers said everything was satisfied with his show and his crew. He struggled through fatigue and what he called a numb right arm (he said DeRozan hit his elbow late in the game) to end up with 23 points on 9 of 23 shoots – a feat that Butler saw due to the shorter stretches was forced to play in his first game action since the last postseason.
"It's just timing – legs getting under you," said Butler, who played 32 minutes. "I'll be alright very soon, we'll make the most of it – and that's our energy and how hard we've played for 48 minutes, we'll take that every time."
That's the team – coached by Tom Thibodeau at down – seemed encouraged in the loser effort was notable. Hardly anyone knew what to expect when he went in, because the turbulent preseason was not going so well. The Wolves went 1-4 during the show book, yielding an NBA – worst 112.8 points per 100 possessions on the defense.
There is still a lot to iron on, to be sure. Center player Karl-Anthony Towns, for example, fouled in just 22 minutes and finished seventh on his team with just six shots attempting to sign a less than stellar line for someone who recently completed a five-year, $ 190-million expansion , His lazy problems injured the wolves in the sense that the Spurs cut 19 whopping offensive rebounds.
Jimmy Butler says he'll find out how he can win at the Timberwolves, and nothing else matters on the court beyond competing.
Still, cities and butlers were both satisfied with the effort of the team; especially Jeff Teague (27 points on 12 shots) and Andrew Wiggins (20 points).
"We were really playing, really good, the intensity was there, sometimes you make a profit, and the basketball gods do not give it to you, and that's fine," Towns said. "But if we can play for 82 games, we have a really good chance."
Butler, when asked if he would feel comfortable with the Timberwolves for the next 81 games, smiled briefly. 19659002] "I've got 81 games, baby, that's all that matters, we have to record today what will bring tomorrow and see where we are," he said. "If that's so, then it's no different, I can not help it, but in the meantime, I have to find a way to help us win some games."