By: Will Burchfield
As Jimmy Butler prepared to attempt a game-tying free throw with six seconds left in Sunday night’s game between the Pistons and Timberwolves, Reggie Jackson approached him from behind and shouted instructions to Stanley Johnson, who briefly stepped into the lane.
This disrupted Butler’s pre-shot process and appeared to break his rhythm.
He went on to miss the free throw and the Pistons won, 100-97.
Butler clearly wasn’t happy with the interruption, dramatically rolling his eyes as Jackson communicated with Johnson.
Butler had sunk his first two free throws after being fouled by Avery Bradley during a three-point attempt. Jackson appeared to step in at the right time.
Tobias Harris grabbed the rebound off Butler’s miss and then made two free throws to put the Pistons up three. Butler had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his three-pointer banged off the backboard and rimmed out.
Afterward, Butler downplayed the effect of Jackson and Johnson at the line. Asked if Johnson purposely interrupted his rhythm, Butler said, “Nah. I just missed one. Happens. Everybody misses free throws. I don’t like to miss them, nobody does. But he had nothing to do with that.”
Butler finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds, but he scored just two points in the fourth quarter. In fact, his last-second three-point attempt was his first shot of the period.
Asked if the Pistons did something to take him out of the game offensively, Butler flatly said, “No.”
The win pushed the Pistons to 11-5 and snapped their two-game losing steak. They swept the season-series with Minnesota.
They’ll take on the Cavs Monday night at Little Caesars Arena.