Jeff Teague scored 23 points and Andrew Wiggins pitched in 20 points with another four 3-pointers, helping the Timberwolves match the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team with 15 makes apiece from long range. Minnesota took 27; Houston launched 41. “I tell everybody all the time, as long as you’re in rhythm, no matter if somebody’s in front of you or not, it’s a good shot for you because we think that you can make that,” Butler said after the Wolves shot 50 percent overall from the floor.
“It’s what we needed,” said guard Derrick Rose. “Tonight was fantastic. We’re trying to bring something to this city that’s never been. We’re trying to start something new here.” It certainly took the edge off and makes Monday night’s Game 4 relevant. Falling behind 3-0 would have been a prelude to getting swept and left the Twin Cities crestfallen just as the market buried the Wild for another off-season of recrimination. “Our fans were absolutely insane,” said center Karl-Anthony Towns, who answered for his vanishing act in Houston. “When you have fan support like that behind you, anything’s possible. It’s just humbling to see fans that elated and buy into us that much.”
It’s the franchise’s first playoff game there since 2004, in an arena where they were 30-11 this season but lost twice to the Rockets. “It feels good,” Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins said after the Wolves practiced Friday afternoon at Mayo Clinic Square. “Houston took care of business up there and now we’ve got to do the same up here. I know the fans will be excited, the atmosphere will be crazy and the whole team, we’re confident. We’re ready.”