Here’s what happened on a night when the Minnesota Timberwolves won the Jimmy Butler trade:
Jimmy Butler made his debut with the Philadelphia 76ers, and the team promptly lost to the Magic in Orlando. Minnesota, debuting Robert Covington and Dario Saric, beat New Orleans.
While the integration of Butler into what Philadelphia does will surely take more time — and he was fine in his debut — Minnesota’s big win might be a rejuvenated young core, excited to take back the reigns they surrendered once the team acquired Butler in the 2017 offseason.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 25 points and 16 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins took a whopping 22 shots, including one ferocious dunk on the Pelicans (when he also kicked Nikola Mirotic square in the Pelicans).
Philadelphia got the better player. The 76ers got the better chance to win now, to compete at the top of the East. Butler will give them all of that.
But Minnesota, at least after one night, looked like it got some freedom.
Dallas did what?
The most stunning result Wednesday night wasn’t the Lakers’ win over the Trail Blazers; it was the absolute destruction of the Utah Jazz at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
Utah scored 68 points — what the Warriors do in a half of basketball — in four quarters, the lowest-scoring performance by a team in two years. They had 22 points in the second half, a real sprint through the finish line.
Games like this happen every so often, but Utah’s next seven games are against decent teams (Sacramento, this is a vote of confidence), and if the Jazz are truly a top-tier Western Conference team, they’ll need to figure this out.
The Spurs keep on scuffling
After losing in Sacramento, the San Antonio Spurs lost to Phoenix on Wednesday, an indignity reserved for few this season as the Suns are “Not tryin’ for Zion.”
Watching them in person on a night like Wednesday, when they were playing without Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay, it’s hard not to fixate on how talent poor San Antonio is.
Also, this happened, meaning they’ll be without Davis Bertans for weeks as he recovers from this stuffing.
LeBron has himself a night
Read Tania Ganguli on LeBron’s best game as a Laker.
Dwane Casey homecoming
Think it didn’t matter for Detroit coach Dwane Casey to get a win in his first game back in Toronto since his firing? Check out his reaction to Reggie Bullock’s game-winning floater to beat the Raptors.
Missed it by this much