LOS ANGELES – While both teams unexpectedly competed to the very end of Team LeBron’s 148-145 dramatic victory over Team Stephen in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler sat and watched it unfold all around him all night at Staples Center.
Did he miss out?
“No, I like it,” he said. “I like that competitive edge that everybody got. Everybody wanted to win. It makes me smile that everybody’s out there competing like that. That’s big time.”
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.
After the game, he said he simply needed to prepare himself for the Wolves’ stretch run these final 21 games.
“Just rest, man,” Butler said. “I got to rest. I got to rest my body up. I know this Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to be ready to roll when I get back there.”
During a weekend when All-Stars were asked silly questions by some media members, somebody asked Butler for advice on living in a divided world.
“I just continue to smile through it all,” Butler said. “It’s not all fine and dandy, but a smile can go a long way. Show some love, be patient and this world will be a much better place.”
Pondering the playoff format
Among the many topics he addressed over the weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league continues to give “serious attention” to a playoff format in which the 16 best teams qualify, not the eight best from both the East and West.
He said the obstacle continues to be “travel, not tradition.” Such a concept would change the current unbalanced regular-season schedule, and the playoffs could require extra time for more coast-to-coast travel.
“We’re going to continue to look at that,” Silver said. “It’s still my hope that we’re going to figure out a way.”
Love loves L.A.
Former Timberwolves star Kevin Love sat out because of a fractured hand, but he came home nonetheless to Los Angeles, where he played his first All-Star Game in 2011.
“This will always be special for me,” Love said. “I was born right down the street in Santa Monica, St. John’s Hospital. It’s amazing where this game has come from, even since my first time in 2011.”
Respect the decision
Nobody in Sunday’s All-Star Game played fewer minutes than Miami’s Goran Dragic’s 11½ for Team LeBron.
That is, other than Wolves star Butler, who elected not to play at all.
“He was tired and just felt like his legs weren’t there,” Team Stephen coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game. “He didn’t practice yesterday or play today. You have to respect that. He plays hard. Sometimes your body just needs a rest.”
• Butler, when asked by Jimmy Kimmel sidekick Guillermo if “Mr. Butler” has a butler of his own because he’s so rich: “I’m not rich, no. I’m a normal person. No, I do not have a butler. Why not? You got a butler? Normal people don’t have butlers. You have a housekeeper? I don’t have one of those, either. I do everything myself. Why do I need all that for?”
• Star power: Boston’s Kyrie Irving and other All-Stars shook hands before the game with NBA legends Bill Russell, Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who were seated side-by-side courtside.
• Wolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns said he’s “very confident” he will continue to play with the Dominican Republic national team rather than USA Basketball. He was born and raised in New Jersey, but his mother is from there.
• Towns said he consulted with Houston superstar James Harden about adopting his step-back shot. “I obviously use the other hand, so it’ll look different,” he said.