Jimmy Butler knows how to turn a crowd around.
The Timberwolves guard not only silenced the boos he received during player introductions, but turned them into “MVP” chants in Minnesota’s home opener. The T-Wolves hosted the Cavaliers and both teams were searching for their first win.
And now Jimmy Butler is getting MVP chants 🤷♂️🤷♂️🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/eFVrXJ7zNZ
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) October 20, 2018
After a dominant second quarter, Minnesota bolstered its lead and cemented a 131-123 win behind Butler’s game-high 33 points.
The visiting Cavs made things a little interesting after halftime by outscoring the Timberwolves 41-33 to get within nine points of the lead. Cleveland was within range late in the third quarter but a pair of free throws by Wiggins and a 3-pointer from Butler to open the fourth widened the gap.
Jimmy Postgame https://t.co/73oyrguAWe
— Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA) October 20, 2018
Cleveland continued to pressure Milwaukee and pulled within five points with less than two minutes left of play. A 26-foot 3-pointer from Cedi Osman ended the Timberwolves’ brief run, but it started right back up with a Jeff Teague jump shot.
Butler scored 15 of Milwaukee’s 27 fourth-quarter points, including a long 3 at the start of the final frame. Wiggins finished with 22 total points.
For the Cavs, Kevin Love had a team-high 25 points and Osman netted 22.
Studs of the night
The first ESPN NBA Friday game did not disappoint. The Celtics and Raptors were neck and neck nearly the entire game in the Eastern Conference showdown, but it was none other than Kawhi Leonard who led the home team to a 113-101 win. Toronto trailed by four points at halftime, but thanks to Leonard’s 15 third-quarter points the Raptors led by three heading into the final quarter. He finished with a double-double behind 31 points and 10 rebounds.
The Greek Freak was freakishly good against the Pacers, which shouldn’t surprise anyone as the 6-11 forward averaged a double-double last season. Giannis Antetokounmpo came out with that same intensity in the Bucks’ 118-101 win over the Pacers. Antetokounmpo finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, 12 of which were on the defensive end.
New Orleans put up a whopping 40 points in the first quarter, but nothing was as impressive as Nikola Mirotic’s performance. The fifth-year NBA player is in his first full season with the Pelicans and they sure loved the edition against the Kings. Mirotic had a career-high 36-point night after shooting 14 of 21 from the field and 5 of 9 from behind the arc. New Orleans defeated Sacramento 149-129 for its second straight win.
Duds of the night
Two of the Magic’s starters weren’t in best form against the Hornets. Jonathan Isaac and DJ Augustin each had just two points in Orlando’s home loss to Charlotte. Isaac, at forward, was 1 of 3 from the field. Augustin, a veteran guard, wasn’t much better as he finished 1 of 5. The pair combined for three missed 3-point shots.
Anthony Davis was showing off early. The power forward slammed one down as New Orleans hosted Sacramento.
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2018
Hello rookie! Miles Bridges adds three to the Hornets’ lead with this shot early in the fourth quarter. The 12th-overall pick in the draft netted 15 points in 14 minutes. Bridges was 6 of 8 from the field and a perfect 3 of 3 from long range in Charlotte’s first win, a 120-88 victory over Orlando.
🚨 #NBARooks 1st Bucket THREAD 🚨
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2018
Rockets (0-1) at Lakers (0-1), 10:30 p.m. ET — Sure, LeBron James made his Lakers debut Wednesday in Portland but Saturday promises yet another debut for the franchise’s biggest star. James is set to make his Los Angeles home debut against Houston, and both teams are looking for their first win. In the Lakers’ season opener, the young squad struggled from 3-point range and finished just 23.3 percent (7 of 30) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the visiting Rockets are trying to find a way to utilize sixth man Carmelo Anthony. For the first time in his 16-year career, Anthony isn’t in the starting lineup and is still getting used to the new role. He tallied nine points on 3-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes in Houston’s opening loss.