Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler expected to return versus Lakers

Nuggets Vs Timberwolves Preview Starting Lineups Odds Predictions TV Injuries | NBA 4/5/18

12:33 AM EDT Updated

Butler could make the difference in Los Angeles. His return will end a string of 18 consecutive games on the sideline, so the Timberwolves will presumably try to work him back into the swing of things in order to ensure his conditioning for the playoffs.

The Minnesota Timberwolves (44-34) go on the road to take on the Denver Nuggets (43-35) on Thursday at 10:30 PM ET.

"It feels like Jimmy's that one piece that helps everybody be where their supposed to be at", Wolves forward Taj Gibson said. "I'm happy we won".

Butler missed 17 games with the knee injury he suffered on February 23 against the Houston Rockets. The Lakers have looked good offensively in their last two games, and the over has converted in nine of the last 11 meetings between these two teams. "He got to his spots, he scored when he wanted to score".

Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds before fouling out with 1:46 remaining. He was just 3-12 from the field last night but his veteran savvy and leadership continues to be valuable to the Nuggets.

Jokic finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while reserve Devin Harris added 20 points for the Nuggets. Nemanja Bjelica would stand to take the biggest hit after starting in place of Butler while he was out. The Timberwolves trailed 58-51 at halftime.

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During their last five games, the Nuggets have scored an average of 115.0 points per game (4.8 above their season average) and allowed an average of 118.2 points per game (9.3 above their season average). Furthermore, the Lakers have dropped seven out of their last ten games, and they could be without both Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball again in this one. All five starters scored in double figures. Kuzma left the game in the third quarter with a mild left ankle sprain and did not return. Denver ranks 24th in the National Basketball Association in ball protection (turnover percentage of 14.6 percent), while the disruptive defense of Minnesota forces the fifth-most turnovers in the league (14.7 percent). Teams just do whatever they want against us.

"We're young, but we've got to realize that each and every possession matters", Hart said.

Brook Lopez (Day To Day - Back): The Lakers have listed Lopez as probable for Friday's game (Apr. 6) against the Timberwolves. They outscored the Lakers 62-38 and built a 21-point lead.

"Like I said from the beginning", Rose said, "it's all about me making winning plays when I'm out there". "But I think the chances are a little bit higher if I'm out there". He outscored the Timberwolves by himself, 15-14, through the first six minutes of the game. Does it mean this game is the most important of any Malone has coached in his three seasons with the team?

Walton said he liked the way Lopez started the game. These are all winnable matchups, of course, but they are just coming off a loss to Denver.

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