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Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose were teammates in Chicago for five seasons, and Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau coached both players with the Bulls.
The Wolves center sparked Team Stephen off bench while Jimmy Butler decided to sit this one out.
Butler chose not to play, the only player from either team who didn't. He suggested in the weeks leading to Sunday that such a game isn't suited for a guy built to defend and win.
There's only one first time, and while Butler belongs in Sunday's game for a fourth time, there's almost always a first time for somebody. This time it belongs to teammate Karl-Anthony Towns.
As different as they might be, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler are Timberwolves one and the same who have found common ground.
Attempting to reduce wear on its players, the NBA opened its season two weeks earlier this year, a change that reduced the number of back-to-back games and ensured teams now won't play four games in five nights.
Leading by just four points with just under eight minutes left, the Rockets made four of their 22 three-pointers to lead by 16 points less than two minutes later.
Golden State's Steve Kerr turned over duties to players Monday. Will we see that with the Wolves? "I don't think we're ready for that," Tom Thibodeau said.
Jeff Teague has considered himself a scoring point guard for most of his NBA career> But times change and Teague says he's needed to change.
The Wolves didn't play with the same kind of what Karl-Anthony Towns calls "energy" and "urgency" that were the bedrock of the previous 12 victories at Target Center.
That streak ended at 10 — one more than Martell Webster had in 2011 — with a three-pointer that could have won Friday night's game at Chicago.
The NBA recently announced a five-pronged initiative to improve player/referee relations during a season when a notable list of superstars have been ejected.
In his first game against the Wolves, Zach LaVine sank three late free-throws to give him 35 points and outshine Jimmy Butler in his return to Chicago.
Even though the Bulls have a bad record, the three players Chicago acquired have played well enough when healthy this season to believe the Bulls are headed in a good direction, and maybe quickly.
In a game that featured an NBA-record 40 made three-pointers, LeBron James' jumpshot at the overtime buzzer was the difference.
"There's always a lot of talk, but usually not a lot gets done," Wolves coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau said.
Unlike their 12-game winning streak at Target Center, the road has not been kind to them. They are 1-8 in their past nine after starting the season 11-8 away from home.
Now that the NBA has moved its annual trade deadline ahead of All-Star weekend to Thursday, the Wolves will try to buy. "You think every day how you can improve your team," Tom Thibodeau said.
Butler sometimes carries around a football gioven to him by Steelers star Antonio Brown and said: "These are the surest hands west of the Atlantic and I just got burners. I'm just fast."
A Timberwolf during training camp a season ago, longtime NBA player Rasual Butler nonetheless impressed Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
In front of a star-studded Super Bowl week crowd, the Wolves won at home for the 11th straight game by polishing off Milwaukee.
Karl-Anthony Towns took only seven shots against the Raptors on Tuesday and still managed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
A botched inbounds play, two technical fouls and questions about who was supposed to be on the floor in the game's final minute were part of the late-game collapse.
Midway through the fourth quarter against the Nets on Saturday, Jeff Teague told his coach to leave reserve Tyus Jones on the floor because Jones and Jamal Crawford had helped rebuild a double-digit lead over Brooklyn.
Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry combined to score 78 points for Golden State in defeating the Wolves.
Lillard celebrated being named to his third NBA All-Star Game with 31 points, including six of Portland's 17 three-pointers. The Wolves gave up a season-high point total in the third quarter.
In an attempt to put some pizazz back into an All-Star game that noticeably lacks it, the NBA changed formats. They will announce two teams, chosen by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry
Western Conference coaches chose seven reserves and two Timberwolves were taken for only the third time in franchise history.
A banner that honors Saunders' memory will be unveiled on Feb. 15 and all fans in attendance will receive a Saunders commemorative coin.
A Philadelphia Eagles fan since he was a boy, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted out support for his favorite team after Sunday's NFC Championship Game rout, and for plenty of Vikings fans, it was too soon.
Andrew Wiggins' 40-point performance was his fifth 30-point game at Staples Center. It powered the Wolves to their 31st victory this season and second straight without Jimmy Butler on the floor.
Get a win. All else is secondary for Wolves star Jimmy Butler, who is willing to goad teammates into being the best they can be.
The NBA All-Star Game's reserves will be announced on TNT before its Tuesday doubleheader. Might the Wolves be well-represented?
The Wolves in the past week have lost to a Magic team that had won once since Dec. 6 and were beaten 116-98 Thursday by a Rockets team the Wolves could see in the playoffs.
Eric Gordon led all scorers with 30 points for Houston, which let fly from long range at will vs. the Wolves in a 116-98 victory.
The players were ejected after Arron Afflalo threw a haymaker punch that appeared to graze Bjelica's head. Bjelica then wrapped Affalo in a headlock
"They played better than us," Butler said. "They played harder than we did. They did everything right. We didn't play the way we were supposed to and they whipped our butts. I'm happy."
A recap of the Wolves' 108-102 loss at Orlando Tuesday.
Once mired in a scoring slump that left him often invisible less, Andrew Wiggins has since provided many of the things that his coach wants -- and his shooting touch is back.
The Timberwolves won both the game and their season series against Western Conference rival Oklahoma City, accomplishments that could pay dividends for the postseason.
Jeff Teague missed seven games after Denver's Will Barton fell on his leg in an overtime victory two weeks ago. He played 26 minutes against Oklahoma City, finishing with eight points and three assists.
After practicing Tuesday, The Wolves upgraded guard Jeff Teague from out to questionable for Wednesday's game in their injury report. Teague has missed seven games with a sprained MCL.
LeBron James' introduction to retooled Wolves came on a night when the Wolves raced to an early lead and led the Cavaliers by as many as 41 points.,
All that likely would have changed had the Cavaliers' trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas happened in early July rather than late August.
The son of a Dominican nurse and a New Jersey basketball coach, 22-year-old Towns intends to push barriers, whether it's redefining what all a basketball big man can be or by speaking out on racism and other issues.
It's January, 50 wins remain viable and Friday's loss at Boston was the Wolves' first consecutively in nearly seven weeks.
Battling a winter storm and a team with comeback aspirations in Boston, the Wolves lost back-to-back games for the first time since before Thanksgiving.
"That stung pretty bad," Wolves guard Tyus Jones said Thursday, a day after Minnesota lost at Brooklyn and Jones received stitches in his mouth.
The Wolves didn't bring the fire that marked their last two victories and were outscored 42-3 on three-pointers in losing for the second time in nine games.
Wolves forward Taj Gibson wore his No. 67 jersey into Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Wednesday night for the first time since he decided last summer to become the first player ever to wear that number.
Karl-Anthony Towns' league-leading 29th double-double this season — 18 points, 14 rebounds Sunday night — is old news. His activity defending the rim is something of a revelation
Jeff Teague's second game missed with an MCL sprain will be a New Year's Eve game Sunday in his hometown against a Pacers team for which he played last season.
He's a starter for the second time this season. In an instant, Tyus Jones went from playing between 10 and 16 minutes a night as a backup to as many as 41½ minutes at New Orleans.
Timberwolves veteran guard Jeff Teague was injured late in regulation during Wednesday's overtime victory vs. Denver.
The Wolves on Thursday led by 20 with under eight minutes to play in the third quarter but allowed the Bucks to mount a comeback, ending a five-game winning streak.
Wolves newcomers Butler, Gibson wield a work ethic that's catching on with the rest of the team.
He played 5:45 without scoring a point in his first game since Nov. 22.
They blew away the shorthanded Lakers with 38 points in the final period, securing their fourth victory in a row.
Does Turner Sports have enough microphones to accommodate Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, Kenny Smith and ringmaster Ernie Johnson?
The star guard scored 20 of his 32 points in the second half in the Wolves' victory over the Suns, causing coach Tom Thibodeau to say: "Jimmy Butler was not going to let us lose that game."
Just when their season's momentum teetered, the Timberwolves won consecutive games and maybe delivered a message as well.
Jimmy Butler was unstoppable down the stretch, scoring eight points in the final 90 seconds.
Deferring no more, Butler is playing in December just like the guy Tom Thibodeau once coached in Chicago.
Tom Thibodeau adjusted his rotation Thursday for the first time since he went essentially with a three-man bench these past two weeks.
Karl-Anthony Towns turned in a 30-point, 14-rebound, five-assist, five-block game on a night when the Wolves led by as many as 27 points.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins all played 40 minutes or more in Tuesday's overtime loss; Taj Gibson almost did before fouling out.
Karl-Anthony Towns was upset about being unable to stop Philadelphia star Joel Embiid late in the game, which helped waste a 38-point night by Jimmy Butler.
The league's laughingstock not so long ago while they accumulated both draft picks and losses galore, the Sixers are must-see TV and play the Wolves in an ESPN game tonight.
Each team has been remade around a pair of young stars and a handful of added veterans.
After returning to team as a free agent, veteran Wolves reserve forward Shabazz Muhammad has fallen out of favor with coach Tom Thibodeau. "It's definitely frustrating," Muhammad said, adding he'll stay professional.
Against the Clippers on Wednesday, Karl-Anthony Towns used his mobility to create and make baskets - because the right opportunity was there.
The Wolves led by as many as 19 points after halftime before using a pair of blocked shots in the closing minutes from Karl-Anthony Towns to help seal a close victory.
Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen on Wednesday joined Wolves play-by-play announcer Dave Benz and analyst Jim Petersen for the first of eight games.
Jimmy Butler on Sunday scored 20 of his 33 points in the final quarter, ensuring a 112-106 victory at Target Center.
The Timberwolves assigned healing rookie center Justin Patton to their Iowa team in the G League on Sunday, a move Wolves coach Tom…
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