Glen Taylor promised to keep searching for ways to trade Jimmy Butler so long as the All-Star continues playing hard while he's with the Wolves, and Butler lived up to his end of the bargain Monday night by leading Minnesota to a 124-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Butler scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, all of them on 3-pointers to outlast the Lakers, who got 29 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks from LeBron James, playing his first game in Minnesota as a Laker on the anniversary of his NBA debut in 2003.
Butler's big performance was again greeted with MVP chants from loyal Wolves fans, a stark difference from Minnesota's home opener two weeks ago in which Butler was greeted by raucous booing during pregame introductions, a result of frustrated fans tired of hearing about another star athlete hoping to leave Minnesota behind.
“It’s basketball. I don’t think nothing that’s gone on before this game has anything to do with us going out there competing,” Butler said, according to The Athletic. “We all go out there, play together, play to win, with or without what’s going on.”
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 26 points and added a season-high 16 rebounds and six assists to go along with four blocks.
Josh Okogie started in place of Andrew Wiggins, who missed his third straight game with a quad contusion. The rookie scored a season-high 17 points while bringing a ton of energy to both ends of the floor.
"He makes things happen," head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Okogie, via ESPN. "He's not perfect, but he's learning, he's eager and every day he comes in with a great attitude, and I like that he's taking advantage of when he does play."
The win improves the Wolves' record to 3-4.
Next up: the Wolves host Ricky Rubio and the Utah Jazz on Halloween night.