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Butler and Towns Put The Past Behind Them, Spark Wolves' Game 3 Win

Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns both shook off underwhelming performances in the Wolves’ previous two games against the Rockets and delivered when their team needed them most. 

Fittingly, that led to a Wolves win.

Butler led the way with a team-high 28 points. He added seven rebounds and five assists, and was a sterling plus 19 in 41 minutes of action.

He flashed his shooting stroke, hitting four threes, and used his strength to punish the Rockets whenever they put smaller guards on him. Butler’s attitude and impact always starts on the defensive end, but when he’s rolling on offense the Wolves are hard to stop.

Perhaps more importantly for the Wolves, Towns demonstrated tonight that he has the ability to fight and remain effective even when he isn’t playing his best basketball. Towns finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds, but it was his energy and aggressiveness that stood out tonight. 

Towns also tallied a steal and two blocked shots, and showed fight and determination to get inside against a Rockets team hell-bent on stopping him. In this game, Towns punished Houston when they double-teamed him, finding his teammates for good looks, and using his size and strength to force the issue.

It’s a fine line between taking what the defense gives you, and taking what you want from the defense—Towns walked that line tonight.

In Game 3, the Wolves looked like the dominant team that climbed as high as the West’s No. 3 seed, and the play of their two All-Stars was a huge factor. It wasn’t perfect, but it was progress, and it came in a win. Tonight, that’s more than enough.