Julius Randle is the Los Angeles Lakers' best all-around player this year, and recent Cleveland Cavaliers cast-off Isaiah Thomas is pound-for-pound the team's most talented.
You'd think someone would've thought to warn them about Jimmy Butler.
Jimmy "Buckets" was off his shooting game against the Lakers on Thursday, and missed all seven three-pointers he took. (More on one of those in a minute.) Bad night on offense? Try making the other guys miss.
This, Butler -- whose interests include wine and, we're gonna guess, lifting weights -- did emphatically in a key moment of the fourth quarter. Minnesota led 114-108 with more than a minute remaining. Thomas, double-teamed in the paint, lofted what looked like a good pass to Randle under the basket.
Butler left his assignment, snuck up behind the unsuspecting Randle, and smacked the ball so hard Target Center employees should check if the rim's still the right height.
Randle regained possession and tossed the ball to Thomas, who sped past Taj Gibson toward the hoop. Again, Butler anticipated, leaving his guy to challenge the shooter... and consume his very identity as a basketball man.
Watch Butler's vicious defensive play(s) below, and stick around to watch another great sequence, also in the fourth quarter, when Butler missed a three-pointer, fell down, then hopped back up to slam home an alley-oop.
The 119-111 victory takes Minnesota into the All-Star Game break with a 36-25 record, one game back of San Antonio for third place in the West.
This is fun!
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