The Bulls were poised to take a winnable game tonight, with the Timberwolves being coach-firingly godawful and having played the night before. But the Bulls have also had a bunch of games this past week, and aren’t exactly worldbeaters, so it maybe shouldn’t have been surprising that they let go of the rope a bit.
Thankfully, though the game went to overtime, the Bulls scored the first seven points in the extra period and weren’t in any more danger as they came away with a 133-126 win.
The Bulls seemingly had a 6 to 12 point lead for nearly the entire contest. They were scoring fairly easily and shooting the ball great, however the TWolves were able to not get blown out by virtue of gaining those extra shot attempts. It was another contest where the Bulls were outrebounded on the offensive glass (26.5% OffReb for Minnesota) and they gave away possessions with their own turnovers. The Bulls had 21 this evening, with Zach LaVine and Coby White each having 7 apiece.
But they made up for it with the shotmaking. White had 20 despite going 0-6 from three, and LaVine had another casually All-Star (officially!) performance with a ho-hum 35 points on 21 shot attempts. It wasn’t the all-around effort that we’d seen LaVine grow into the past couple weeks but the scoring was there and it was totally necessary to keep the Wolves at arms length for much of the 2nd half.
The Bulls kept making bad mistakes to let the Wolves hang around late. A boffed inbounds pass from Tomas Satoransky followed by a Thad Young clear-path foul was a big turning point. Then it looked like the game was sealed again after Karl-Anthony Towns (24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) missed a face-up jumper and then fouled out of the game on a non-shooting foul, only to see Coby White get called for one himself on Ricky Rubio’s final-seconds three point ‘attempt’, which somehow was both an iffy call and a bad mistake by White.
LaVine earned himself a decent look to end regulation that went in and out, and though the Bulls looked pretty annoyed they had to play 5 more minutes, they channeled that energy into a comfortable win.
I mentioned the late gaffes by Young and Sato, but they were once again beyond solid overall with Young needing 14 attempts for his 14 points but more than making up for it with 6 assists and 4 steals. Satoransky went 6-7 from the field for 16 points with 4 assists of his own. Up there in contributions was the 32 minutes from Wendell Carter Jr., who had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes.
The Wolves were pretty cold from distance, though they improved by half from 4-14 in the first to an at-least-somewhat-average 7-20 in the second. I thought Anthony Edwards looked pretty impressive, for what that’s worth. Not much, as that team is a mess.
But the Bulls are in the bad conference, where a big glut of teams are within a few games of eachother, and some are suffering bad losses to terrible teams. The Bulls aren’t doing that, and thus are slowly climbing in the standings. They leave tonight’s game in the 6th seed somehow, heh.