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Jimmy Butler ready to help lead Minnesota Timberwolves' playoff push

From NBA media reports

Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the All-Stars and go-to guys on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The other is Jimmy Butler, who hasn’t been in the Twin Cities as long as Towns, but has perhaps more expectation on him than his fellow star teammate does. That’s because Butler has been here before — guiding a team down the stretch of the season to a playoff spot.

Butler has basically been doing that since 2014-15, when he put the Chicago Bulls on his back and carried them to the postseason after Derrick Rose was lost for the season to a knee injury. The Wolves are looking to make their first playoff appearance since 2004 and sit at No. 3 in the Western Conference. How Butler plays these last 20 or so games, writes Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press, will set a lot of the tone for Minnesota’s playoff push:

Butler knows how to manage his body. That’s why he didn’t play Sunday night. He knows he’ll be relied upon heavily down the stretch, and seems to be ready for whatever comes his way. This isn’t his first trip through a playoff chase.

“It’s a long, grinding-type season,’ Butler said. “Mentally, physically, all that stuff, emotionally. Just keep winning and everything takes care of itself. So, at the end of the day when we take the floor, we’ve got to win. Then when you’re banged up a little bit physically, it feels a little bit better.”

Wins are more pivotal than ever coming down the stretch. Minnesota is tied with San Antonio for the third seed in the Western Conference … but only three and a half games ahead of the ninth-place Clippers.

“If you win games, you’re going to be there (in the playoffs). If you don’t, we’ll be talking to you after the season,” Butler said. “We’ve got to go out there, we’ve got to compete, live in the right now and do what we can do as a collective whole to win.”

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