MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jimmy Butler returned to Minnesota’s lineup and scored 20 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 101-91 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
Butler, who received a mix of boos and cheers during player introductions, sat out Saturday due to precautionary rest. Karl-Anthony Towns added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, while rookie guard Josh Okogie scored 12 points off the bench.
Minnesota also played most of Monday’s game without forward Andrew Wiggins, who exited in the first quarter due to a right quad contusion and did not return. Wiggins scored two points in eight minutes before the injury. He averaged 20.3 points per game in Minnesota’s first three contests.
Okogie saw his minutes increase in Wiggins’ absence. Okogie made the most of the extended playing time and the home crowd at Target Center gave the rookie a nice ovation as he took a seat on the bench late in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves led by as many as nine early before Indiana cut it to one point at the half. Victor Oladipo scored 15 of his 20 points before halftime to lead the Pacers. He has now scored at least 20 points in three straight games.
Bojan Bogdanovic also had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Pacers, while Myles Turner chipped in 16.
Minnesota’s reserves went on a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter and take an 84-73 lead — its biggest of the game. Derrick Rose scored four of his 11 points during the run to put the Wolves ahead after they trailed by one entering the fourth.
After allowing 140 points in a loss Saturday to Dallas, Minnesota’s defense clamped down Monday against a Pacers team that scored 132 points its last time out. The Wolves held Indiana to just 38.8 percent shooting from the floor in the first half, the lowest shooting percentage of any opponent so far this year. The 91 points allowed was the first time Minnesota held a team under 100 this season.
Indiana shot over 55 percent in two of its first three games before shooting 39.6 percent on Monday.
The Timberwolves struggled from deep in Monday’s game, finishing 7-for-33 from behind the arc.
Pacers: F Domantas Sabonis returned to action Monday after missing Saturday’s game against Brooklyn. Sabonis had eight points in 17 minutes off the bench. … Indiana assigned C Ike Anigbogu to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League on Monday. Anigbogu played three minutes Saturday.
Wolves: C Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. … F Taj Gibson’s 3-pointer in the first quarter Monday marked the first time he connected from downtown since Dec. 31, 2017, which also came against Indiana. … Minnesota led Indiana in fast break points, 26-8.
Pacers: Visit San Antonio on Wednesday night.
Wolves: Visit Toronto on Wednesday night.
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