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Postby huangjian123 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:58 am
The impact made by Jimmy Butler on the Minnesota Timberwolves was obvious from the start Sam Darnold Youth Jersey , transcending the two ends of the court where he’s made his mark as a four-time All-Star.

Perhaps no better example of the leadership he contributed to a long-languishing franchise trying to find its way came during a three-day stretch in mid-December.

With Butler playing through back spasms, the Timberwolves lost at home to a Phoenix Suns team that ultimately finished with the NBA’s worst record. Afterward, Butler was flat on the floor in the locker room, in enough discomfort that moving around was a difficult proposition.

Two nights later, Butler powered past the pain to score 37 points and carry the Wolves to victory over the Portland Trail Blazers , who finished third in the Western Conference this season.

”If you go out there and show them how hard you have to play in this league until the end on a constant basis,” Butler said then, cajoling his young teammates, ”that’s when they follow suit.”

In case there was any lingering mystery about the 28-year-old Butler’s value to these Wolves, his absence while recovering from a meniscus injury in his right knee quelled them for good. They went 8-9 while he was out Cheap Kolton Miller Jersey , nearly squandering their spot in the playoffs until reeling off three straight wins upon Butler’s return to end an NBA-most 14-year stretch of missing the postseason. Factoring in the six games he missed earlier to an illness and a sore knee, the Wolves were 10-13 without him.

”He’s changed everything for us,” said coach Tom Thibodeau, without a hint of hyperbole.

Butler pitched in 31 points on Wednesday in the win-and-get-in, lose-and-go-home game against the Denver Nuggets that gave the Wolves a taste of the playoffs. He played 42 minutes.

”He’s an animal,” fellow All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns said. ”I don’t think anyone has ever thought anything else of him. He’s a cyborg from another place, built in the lab, and we’re very glad that we’ve got him.”

Thibodeau, who has full control of the roster as president of basketball operations, was fixated last summer on reuniting with Butler from their time together with the Chicago Bulls. Not only were the Wolves in the market for another scorer around their cornerstone Towns and young wingman Andrew Wiggins Kerryon Johnson Youth Jersey , they needed a lock-down defender who could take on the opponent’s best player with unwavering confidence. Plus, his mental toughness was a critical component in the overall attitude adjustment of a team transitioning from low-pressure losing seasons to heightened expectations under the no-nonsense Thibodeau.

”I wanted to go to a contender. I wanted to go somewhere where I was familiar with the coach, and being here was the perfect situation,” Butler said this week. ”We have a young team. I don’t believe they know how good they are. I believe the city doesn’t know how good the team is. We can bring that excitement, not only to the team, but to the city.”

Butler ranked fourth in the NBA this season with a 6.06 real plus-minus rating. That advanced statistic attempts to assess a player’s on-court impact on team performance as measured by net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions, while also factoring in teammates, opponents and other variables. The only players ahead of him were Chris Paul, Steph Curry and James Harden.

As the Wolves approach the daunting assignment of a first-round matchup with Paul, Harden and the league-leading Houston Rockets Marcedes Lewis Jersey , the intangible contribution Butler can make to the cause is as valuable as any. His experience in the playoffs, with 38 career games, and his tenacity on the court provide the kind of comfort food a team can rely on against an opponent that beat the Wolves handily in all four matchups in the regular season.

This leadership comes from others, too, with the summer additions of Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford, and the recent signing of Derrick Rose coming in handy when Game 1 tips off in Houston on Sunday night.

”You have to believe in your teammates. That’s why it’s good to have a coach like Thibs who comes in and gives you a strong talk, because he understands the reality of the game and the ups and downs of how the game goes,” Gibson said after practice Friday, before the team boarded a flight for Houston. ”You’ve just got to go out there and fight.”



Mark Reynolds homered twice and drove in a career-high 10 runs Cheap Sam Darnold Jersey , Max Scherzer won for the first time since June 5, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 18-4 on Saturday night.

Washington has won three straight and scored a combined 35 runs since calling a players-only meeting on Wednesday after falling under .500 for the first time since May 2.

Reynolds (5 for 5) tied his career high for hits and equaled the Nationals’ RBI record.

Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the second inning into the same visitors’ bullpen where his walk-off homer landed on Friday. He followed that up with an RBI double in the second, a two-run single in the fifth, a three-run homer in the sixth, and a two-run single in the seventh.

Washington, which has won 14 straight against Miami, broke it open by batting around the order and scoring a season-best seven runs in the fifth inning.

Scherzer (11-5), who was 0-4 in his previous five starts, pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on four hits – three of which were home runs. The Nationals had been shut out in three of Scherzer’s previous five starts.

Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen (2-6) lasted 4 1/3 innings Uchenna Nwosu Jersey , allowing seven runs on seven hits.

Bryce Harper had three hits and an intentional walk.

Starlin Castro and J.T. Realmuto hit the first back-to-back home runs of the season for the Marlins in the fourth inning. Yadiel Rivera hit his first homer of the season in the seventh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: OF Brian Anderson was out of the lineup for the first time this season. After playing in Miami’s first 90 games, manager Don Mattingly said it was time for a breather. . Mattingly said OF Lewis Brinson (right hip) is still sore and ”doing a little treatment, and that’s all.”

Nationals: Manager Dave Martinez said that RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment Tuesday with the goal of throwing 50-60 pitches. . OF Victor Robles (hyperextended left elbow) and RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) both played in a Gulf Coast League game Friday. Martinez said Glover is ”progressing well” but that he wouldn’t be pitching in back-to-back games. . C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) went 1 for 4 in a rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg and is expected to play again on Sunday before being re-evaluated.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Rookie RHP Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.26 ERA) makes his first start against the Nationals in the series finale.

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (3-10, 4.60 ERA) is looking for his first win since June 6. Roark is 5-8 with a 3.99 ERA in 22 games against the Marlins.

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