The Bulls had most of their key pieces back with Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. finally healthy and Lauri Markkanen making his debut after a long injury layoff of his own, though all three players are on minutes restrictions. The Timberwolves were also missing the heartbeat of their team in Karl-Anthony Towns. They were also on the second night of a back-to-back after a hard-fought win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
In the Bulls’ defense, Zach LaVine didn’t play because of injury, so the Bulls too had their main guy out. Maybe that makes this loss a little less egregious?
Regardless, the Bulls are 21-41, dropping a game many looked at on the calendar and circled as one they’d have a better chance of winning than many of the other games remaining on the schedule.
The Bulls actually led for most of the first half, entering halftime with a three-point lead. The Timberwolves’ 12-3 run out of halftime helped them open up a six-point lead. The Bulls trailed for the rest of the third quarter, hovering between five- and 11-point deficits for most of the quarter. Chicago found itself down nine points heading into the fourth quarter after getting outscored 33-21 in the frame.
The Timberwolves then began to separate themselves from the Bulls in the fourth quarter. They built an 11-point lead with 8:57 left after a Jarrett Culver 3-point field goal. Minnesota got the lead all the way up to 14 points with three minutes to play, but the Bulls whittled the deficit all the way down to five points behind a late 9-0 run buoyed by a bunch of turnovers. But they couldn’t get over the hump and failed to secure several key rebounds, ultimately falling to Minnesota by seven points.
Six Wolves finished in double-digits as the team as a whole nailed 19 3-point field goals to fuel the victory. Coby White led Bulls scorers again scoring 26 points off the bench on 11-of-22 shooting. The rookie also did a nice job setting the table for his teammates, racking up six assists and not committing a single turnover. He continues to develop before our eyes not just with his scoring ability but also his playmaking.
Markkanen played for the first time since Jan. 22. While on that minutes restriction, he played pretty well by hitting six of the 10 shots he attempted for 13 points in 21 minutes. Most importantly, he looked healthy.
Otto Porter Jr. couldn’t follow up his strong return game with another big showing, managing just two points on 1-of-8 shooting in 18 minutes off the bench.
Finally, Jimbo was mad after this loss:
Boylen: "I don't care who's coming back. I don't care who's been out, who's working on a minutes restriction. I didn't think we were tough enough tonight. And I didn't like it."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 5, 2020
The “fun” continues on Friday night against the Indiana Pacers.