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Butler's 37 points spur Wolves rally past Blazers, 108-107

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves needed a spark at the end of a so-so homestand.

Jimmy Butler picked them up and carried them on his ailing back.

Butler powered through a recent bout of back spasms to score 37 points, sinking two free throws that gave the Timberwolves the lead with 2.5 seconds left in a 108-107 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

''I ride for everybody in this locker room. I'm going to battle with them as long as I can walk,'' Butler said.

Jamal Crawford pitched in a season-high 23 points in 23 minutes, with 16 in the fourth quarter to spur the rally from 10 points down with 7 1/2 minutes remaining. The Wolves completed their third comeback win this season from a double-digit deficit, with Butler and Crawford combining for their final 21 points.

''We needed to get some passion going,'' said Crawford, whose steal near midcourt set up a fast-break feed to Butler for a crowd-cajoling dunk that brought the Wolves within 97-95 with 5:31 to go.

Crawford's three-point play with 2:49 left pulled the Wolves to 105-104, and Blazers star C.J. McCollum missed his next two shots. Defense has been a recurring problem for Minnesota this season, but Andrew Wiggins stuffed a shot by Al-Farouq Aminu along the baseline with 1:06 left to cause a critical turnover.

Butler made two foul shots on the other end to put the Wolves in front again at 106-105, with the fans at Target Center chanting ''MVP! MVP!'' McCollum's pull-up jumper gave the Blazers the lead back. After misses by Butler and Lillard, Aminu fouled Butler at the end of his drive to the basket to put him at the line.

Butler went 12 for 21 from the floor and 11 for 12 from the line, finishing one point off his season high for a squad that needed the jolt with just one set of consecutive wins over the last month. The Wolves had already blown fourth-quarter leads to Philadelphia and Phoenix, neither winning teams, on this five-game stretch at home.

''He's changed everything for us,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said.

McCollum scored 20 points for the Blazers, whose three-game winning streak ended when Damian Lillard's 3-point heave at the buzzer fell short. Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and Lillard added 17 points and 13 assists, but the Blazers had 17 turnovers and squandered their chance to finish 4-1 on a five-game road trip for a second time this season.

''Maybe we've just got to be stronger with the ball and make smarter plays,'' Lillard said.

TIP-INS

Blazers: Lillard notched his fifth double-double of the season, his second in a row. ... The Blazers went 10 for 24 from 3-point range, their sixth game in the last eight outings with double-digit makes from long range.

Wolves: This was Butler's fourth 30-plus point game of the season. ... It was the team's fourth straight game with 10 or fewer turnovers.

WHISTLE BLOWERS

Aminu added 13 points for the Blazers, who shot a season-best 54.8 percent from the field. They were awarded only five throws, none in the first half, a discrepancy that had them steamed afterward.

''I got hit in the face one time, and it's like in shooting motion,'' Lillard said. ''It's a clear, easy play, and it's impacting the game, man.''

Lillard also argued for a call that never came as he tried to set up for his final attempt.

''The guy's just hugging me from the back, literally hugging me,'' Lillard said. ''It's three referees out there. Somebody's got to see it.''

Whether they were fouling or not was irrelevant to the Wolves. For once, they displayed some intensity on defense down the stretch.

''Now if we can do it every possession, it'd be some beautiful basketball,'' Butler said. ''We've yet to see that, though.''

THE BUTLER DID IT

Butler was lying on the floor in the locker room in pain on Saturday after Minnesota's 108-106 loss to Phoenix on Saturday, putting his status for this game in question. He played as if there was never any doubt about his condition, with 10 of the team's first 14 points in the first five minutes of the game.

''He's a special player,'' Thibodeau said.

NAME THAT BACKUP GUARD

Shabazz Napier had 15 points in 19 minutes for the Blazers, while Shabazz Muhammad watched from the Wolves bench during his fifth straight healthy scratch. Napier and Muhammad are the only players in NBA history with the first name Shabazz, according to the Basketball Reference website.

UP NEXT

Blazers: Return home to face San Antonio on Wednesday.

Wolves: Play at Denver on Wednesday, starting a stretch of five out of six games on the road to finish 2017.

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Key Players
D. Lillard
0 PG
K. Towns
32 C
35.5 Min. Per Game 35.5
20.7 Pts. Per Game 20.7
1.9 Ast. Per Game 1.9
11.8 Reb. Per Game 11.8
42.0 Field Goal % 52.0
42.0 Three Point % 52.6
92.7 Free Throw % 83.2
  Team rebound 0:00
  Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:00
+ 1 Jimmy Butler made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:02
+ 1 Jimmy Butler made 1st of 2 free throws 0:02
  Shooting foul on Al-Farouq Aminu 0:02
  Defensive rebound by Taj Gibson 0:08
  Damian Lillard missed driving layup 0:10
  Defensive rebound by Evan Turner 0:28
  Jimmy Butler missed jump shot 0:31
+ 2 CJ McCollum made jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 0:44
+ 1 Jimmy Butler made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:00
Team Stats
Points 107 108
Field Goals 46-84 (54.8%) 42-91 (46.2%)
3-Pointers 10-24 (41.7%) 7-19 (36.8%)
Free Throws 5-5 (100.0%) 17-21 (81.0%)
Total Rebounds 45 46
Offensive 7 11
Defensive 33 21
Team 5 14
Assists 26 19
Steals 6 7
Blocks 8 2
Turnovers 17 10
Fouls 19 14
Technicals 1 1
17 PTS, 8 REB, 13 AST
37 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST
1234T
away team logo Trail Blazers 16-14 24303122107
home team logo Timberwolves 18-13 24272532108
Team Stats
away team logo Trail Blazers 16-14 105.5 PPG 43.5 RPG 19.0 APG
home team logo Timberwolves 18-13 101.6 PPG 45.2 RPG 22.4 APG
Key Players
C. McCollum SG 25.3 PPG 2.0 RPG 3.5 APG 51.9 FG%
J. Butler SG 15.8 PPG 6.0 RPG 4.0 APG 44.4 FG%
Top Scorers
C. McCollum SG 20 PTS 2 REB 4 AST
J. Butler SG 37 PTS 6 REB 4 AST
54.8 FG% 46.2
41.7 3PT FG% 36.8
100.0 FT% 81.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. McCollum 37 20 2 4 2 1 2 3 9/17 2/6 0/0 0 2 31 -3
J. Nurkic 28 20 7 1 0 3 2 4 9/12 0/0 2/2 1 6 30 -8
D. Lillard 37 17 8 13 0 1 6 2 7/18 2/7 1/1 0 8 46 -3
A. Aminu 35 13 6 0 1 0 1 2 5/12 3/5 0/0 0 6 19 -2
E. Turner 36 5 2 6 2 1 2 3 2/3 1/1 0/0 0 2 20 -8
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. McCollum 37 20 2 4 2 1 2 3 9/17 2/6 0/0 0 2 31 -3
J. Nurkic 28 20 7 1 0 3 2 4 9/12 0/0 2/2 1 6 30 -8
D. Lillard 37 17 8 13 0 1 6 2 7/18 2/7 1/1 0 8 46 -3
A. Aminu 35 13 6 0 1 0 1 2 5/12 3/5 0/0 0 6 19 -2
E. Turner 36 5 2 6 2 1 2 3 2/3 1/1 0/0 0 2 20 -8
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
S. Napier 18 15 1 0 0 1 1 0 6/8 1/1 2/2 0 1 16 +1
E. Davis 20 10 7 1 1 0 1 0 5/6 0/0 0/0 4 3 19 +7
Z. Collins 21 7 5 1 0 1 1 4 3/7 1/3 0/0 2 3 14 +8
P. Connaughton 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 2 1 +3
M. Harkless - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Leonard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Layman - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Vonleh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Wilcox - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Swanigan - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Baldwin IV - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 237 107 40 26 6 8 17 19 46/84 10/24 5/5 7 33 196 -5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Butler 35 37 6 4 3 0 0 0 12/21 2/3 11/12 1 5 54 +15
K. Towns 40 16 8 4 1 0 4 3 5/15 3/6 3/4 4 4 29 +8
J. Teague 37 13 3 5 0 0 3 3 6/13 1/3 0/0 2 1 23 +3
T. Gibson 33 10 4 1 0 1 2 3 5/7 0/0 0/0 1 3 15 -3
A. Wiggins 33 9 6 0 1 1 0 0 4/14 0/3 1/3 1 5 17 -3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Butler 35 37 6 4 3 0 0 0 12/21 2/3 11/12 1 5 54 +15
K. Towns 40 16 8 4 1 0 4 3 5/15 3/6 3/4 4 4 29 +8
J. Teague 37 13 3 5 0 0 3 3 6/13 1/3 0/0 2 1 23 +3
T. Gibson 33 10 4 1 0 1 2 3 5/7 0/0 0/0 1 3 15 -3
A. Wiggins 33 9 6 0 1 1 0 0 4/14 0/3 1/3 1 5 17 -3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Crawford 22 23 1 2 1 0 1 1 10/16 1/4 2/2 0 1 28 -1
G. Dieng 18 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0/3 0/0 0/0 1 1 4 -8
T. Jones 10 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 0/2 0/0 0/0 1 1 7 -2
M. Georges-Hunt 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -4
A. Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Aldrich - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Bjelica - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Muhammad - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Patton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 108 32 19 7 2 10 14 42/91 7/19 17/21 11 21 177 +5