LOS ANGELES – Jimmy Butler’s frustration surfaced again as he gave a frank assessment of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ growing problems after the team fell to 4-8 with defeat at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Butler, who tried to accelerate a move away from the team ahead of the season and may still have trade possibilities before the deadline, admitted that Minnesota deserves the lowly position in the standings caused by its dismal run.
“I don’t believe in luck,” Butler said on Wednesday night. “I think everything happens for a reason. We played good, four games. We played bad, eight games.”
The Timberwolves have been under the spotlight since Butler’s trade request further exposed chemistry issues between him and fellow stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Wednesday’s 114-110 defeat at Staples Center was just the latest game in which Minnesota manufactured a chance at victory, only to carelessly let it up.
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Butler was riled by a sequence in the final minute that his team forced the Lakers into three missed shots, only for the home team to recover possession on each occasion.
“Very, very frustrating,” Butler added. “To know that we were that close and all we got to do is rebound the basketball. That’s been the story for us thus far, we have been right there, we’ve been out rebounded. We have to figure out a way to go get the ball.”
Tom Thibodeau’s squad meets Sacramento on Friday night in the final outing of a five-game, eight day road trip that has produced nothing but disappointment. Minnesota’s record away from home is 0-7, making it one of only four teams in the league that has been unable to secure a road win. A playoff team last season is now floundering, with public opinion divided as to whether Butler’s pre-season theatrics were a harmful disruption or merely the action that highlighted deep-rooted problems.
“The season is still young but we can’t use that for too much longer, because these games come around quick,” Butler said. “We know what we have to do. I’d like to say it is going to be better the next game.”
He didn’t sound especially confident.
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