The Minnesota Timberwolves almost got away with a narrow win over the Chicago Bulls thanks to a clutch 3-pointer from Kevin Martin, but Jimmy Butler teaching Andrew Wiggins a thing or two about staying on your feet and not being overzealous to block a shot cost them the home victory.
With 2.9 seconds left in the game and the Timberwolves trailing by two points, a series of misses eventually led to a wide open shot for Kevin Martin from beyond the arc. Red hot for most of the night, Martin isn’t someone to be left open from any range at any time, hitting it and putting Minnesota up, 105-104. No Derrick Rose for the Chicago Bulls, they decided to go with Jimmy Butler to try and win the game, or at least stretch it a bit.
Butler is going through a breakthrough season, there’s no doubt about that. Everything about him in the preseason told us it’s going to be this way. He was defended by Andrew Wiggins, who might be struggling offensively at this point, but his defense might already be worthy of an all-defensive mention by the end of this season. But Wiggins is new to the NBA, and should have known better than to jump at such an obvious pump fake.
Butler sank two free throws with no time left for the Timberwolves to score again, losing at home 106-105 as the Bulls pulled through against a difficult team without their star player. Butler led the way scoring 24 points and it was a good performance for Pau Gasol with 20 points. The guys who really made difference were the bench players – Aaron Brooks with 16 points and Nikola Mirotic with his best of his short NBA career so far, scoring 12 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, with Taj Gibson also out of action for the night.