Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler left Friday night’s 120-102 loss to the Houston Rockets with a right knee injury.
Butler drove into the paint with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter and missed a short jumper. After grabbing the rebound, he pivoted and planted hard on his right foot, before collapsing to the floor in pain, holding his knee.
“His first reaction was, ‘I’m OK, I’ll be OK,'” Wolves forward Taj Gibson said. “But he was smiling. That was a big thing, and it was a huge relief for everybody in this locker room. He’s a warrior, so we’ve just got to hold it down for him.”
Butler, 28, leads the Timberwolves with 22.4 points per game. He also is tops in the league in minutes played per game at 37.3, but he drew criticism for choosing to sit out the All-Star Game.
Butler told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth before Friday’s game that he’d rather sit out the NBA showcase than miss time with Minnesota.
“I’m not going to say that I want to cut back my minutes [with the Wolves], but when I have an opportunity [to rest], I will,” Butler said.
Ball, who was sidelined for 15 games with a knee injury, had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in 17 minutes. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram scored 15 apiece to help Los Angeles stop a three-game slide.
It was Randle’s second triple-double this season and No. 5 for his career. Josh Hart added 12 points and 10 boards as the Lakers enjoyed a 61-29 advantage on the glass.
Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes each scored 19 points for the Mavericks (18-41), who have dropped five of six.
Mavericks: Rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. was one of the players identified in the Yahoo Sports story on federal documents obtained in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption.