DeMar DeRozan Leads San Antonio Spurs Past Minnesota Timberwolves 112-108; Butler Scores 23
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan responded to a trade he didn't want with his usual boundless energy and fearless style in the fourth quarter for San Antonio. Jimmy Butler hasn't received a trade he's requested, and turned in a similar performance for Minnesota.
DeRozan had 28 points in his San Antonio debut, LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and 19 rebounds and the Spurs overcame a 23-point performance by Butler in a 112-108 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night in a matchup of teams coming off a tumultuous offseason.
DeRozan was acquired from Toronto after the Spurs responded to Kawhi Leonard's trade demands by dealing their star forward and Danny Green for the Raptors' All-Star guard and Jakob Poeltl. The trade shocked DeRozan, but he has since warmed to the Spurs and San Antonio.
Minnesota is facing a similar trade demand from Butler, who has opted to play through it. Butler, who has told Minnesota that he will not re-sign with the team in the offseason, added seven rebounds and three assists in an active 31 minutes.
DeRozan was initially upset he was traded, but has since embraced San Antonio and those good vibrations propelled him in the fourth.
DeRozan banked in the eventual game-winning shot in the final minute against Butler, driving hard to the basket against the 6-foot-8 forward and then pulling up from 12 feet to give San Antonio a 110-108 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining. DeRozan sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining after Minnesota's Derrick Rose missed a runner in lane.
DeRozan's debut was also the close of the Big Three era in San Antonio. Tony Parker left the Spurs to sign with Charlotte in the offseason and Manu Ginobili joined Tim Duncan in retirement.
DeRozan and Aldridge are now the cornerstones of the team, and each lauded the other in their debut.
Aldridge shot 7 for 23 from the field, and had three blocked shots and 11 defensive rebounds.
Rudy Gay had 18 points and Bryn Forbes had 11 points in his first start at point guard for the Spurs.
Jeff Teague scored 27 points and Andrew Wiggins added 20 points for the Timberwolves.
Karl-Anthony Towns picked up his third foul with 2 minutes left in the first half and fouled out with 4:18 remaining in the game and the Spurs up 99-92. Towns finished with eight points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.
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