Butler leads Timberwolves to win over Thunder
MINNEAPOLIS — Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 25 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to another nail-biting win, 119-116, against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, Oct. 27.
Karl-Anthony Towns had season highs with 33 points and 19 rebounds, and Jeff Teague added 17 points and 10 assists for Minnesota, which beat Oklahoma City last Sunday on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins chipped in 14 points on Friday, and Taj Gibson had his best game with the Timberwolves with 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds.
Russell Westbrook had 27 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for the Thunder, who have lost three of their past four games. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George each scored 23 points for Oklahoma City.
Anthony, who had hit a go-ahead 3 before Wiggins' winning shot on Sunday, missed a 3-pointer as time expired on Friday night, with the rebound going to Butler.
Both teams made major changes in the offseason in an attempt to challenge in the Western Conference playoffs, and the new-look lineups have spent the early part of the season getting used to each other.
Butler had missed two games with an upper-respiratory infection but showed his stabilizing impact on Friday. Minnesota took two uninspiring blowout losses without their new start swingman even though Towns and Wiggins were still in the lineup.
While Butler has deferred to Towns and Wiggins at times this season, he took over in the fourth on Friday. He hit a jump shot with 1:42 left and followed with an acrobatic lay-in while falling to the floor to stretch the lead to 118-112.
Westbrook has been more of the facilitator for Oklahoma City, entering the night with a league-leading 12.8 assists per game. It was more of the same Friday as Westbrook didn't take his first shot of the night until 3:13 remaining in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, George scored 12 in the first as Oklahoma City took a lead and Anthony added 11 in the second.
NOTES: Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns has five double-doubles in six games this season and has scored at least 20 points five times. ... Oklahoma City C Steven Adams started the night by hitting his first eight field goals. It's the best start from the field in a game in Adams' career. The Thunder record is 12 for 12 from Serge Ibaka in 2014. ... Adams had 20 points and eight rebounds. ... Towns surpassed Pooh Richardson for 12th place on the Wolves' all-time scoring list with 3,696 points.