Lakers vs Timberwolves: odds, point spread, a litmus test for LA

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"It's basketball", Butler said when asked about hitting a big 3-pointer in the context of what he and the team have been through this season.

But the Wolves matched their intensity and came away with a needed victory after it looked like the tension around the Jimmy Butler trade saga looked like it was about to consume them.

James dutifully answered questions, giving thoughtful responses on what the team needs to do to perform better.

That came after the Wolves buried themselves in first-quarter deficits against Milwaukee and Toronto. Without Butler do the Wolves beat the James-led Lakers? We got stagnant. They made some great plays. "I guess their energy kind of helped ours".

"We're in the middle of just a grind week with all this travel", Carlisle said.

"We got another one on Wednesday (against Dallas) on our home floor and we got to be really good". L.A. was outscored by 11 points with Ball on the court Monday and has now been outscored by 44 points with Ball on the court this season, the worst plus-minus of any Lakers player, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Though Rondo has returned from his suspension and been in the lineup the last two games, Ball has been the starter at point guard.

It was reported last week by ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski the Rockets had offered four future first-round picks, notably the most a team can offer as per league rules, for Butler's services. "You win games on defense", he said.

His ability to get to the basket easily while maintaining a poised and high-arching jump shot has allowed him to be almost unstoppable against this controversy-driven T-Wolves team. "That's the strength, the mental strength of Jimmy, he doesn't get dissuaded if he makes a tough play, he comes back the next time and plays him again". So far, he has been their most dependable 3-point shooter.

Tolliver's contributions Anthony Tolliver played just a hair over 19 minutes and only attempted four shots, but he made the a lot of them.

Anthony Tolliver was ideal on four shots from the floor for the Timberwolves, including a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter for a 96-94 lead.

Isaac Bonga #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebounds against Derrick Rose #25 and Anthony Tolliver #43 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the fourth quarter of the game on October 29, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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