Butler to Play vs. Lakers Following 17-Game Absence

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 4/5/18 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 4/5/18 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

However, Butler did not actually check into the game for any action, as the Timberwolves fell to the Nuggets and dropped to eighth in the tightening Western Conference standings.

LOS ANGELES - Julius Randle led the Lakers with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Josh Hart also chipped in 20 points off the bench, but the Lakers were unable to play spoiler against another team desperate for late-season wins.

Before Butler's injury, the Timberwolves found themselves in the three-seed.

Butler makes a dramatic difference all-around, intangibly and tangibly as the Timberwolves are essentially 13 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor. About the only place where Butler showed some rust was his at the foul line, as the 86.5 percent free throw shooter missed four of eight attempts. "I want to be in the playoffs. I want to know I can go out there and play". "I'm not going to say it's another game you've got to win with an exclamation mark". The Nuggets barely beat the Butler-less Timberwolves last night.

There is no doubt having the tenacity of a guy like Butler back on the court will help Minnesota. "We have to see where he is once he gets out there". Just looking at everything and seeing where he is, we feel good about where he is. He's Minnesota's best player and just so important to this team, particularly defensively. I don't like it.

"Ain't no coach in the world that can make somebody play hard".

Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (5) fouls Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Friday, April 6, 2018.

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