The stage couldn’t be set any better for the Chicago Bulls Guard and Forward. First game after being announced a member of the All-Star team and playing against his former team, Zach LaVine continued the Bulls home game win streak to three as they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime 126 – 133 to earn their fifth victory in six games.
On the other end of the court, the Timberwolves played a good game and stayed with the Bulls, despite going 0 – 5 in their last few games and the recent coaching changes with Chris Finch. Only two games under their new head coach, it’ll be up to Finch as to what he makes of this young group.
Minnesota Timberwolves Highlights
As one the more veteran starters on the Timberwolves last night, other than Ricky Rubio before his stint with the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, Karl-Anthony Towns had an uncharacteristically low scoring game, his lowest since last Friday’s loss against the Toronto Raptors. Playing 31 minutes, Towns ended the game with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, while shooting 50% from the field, leading the team in turnovers (6). After a scoreless second quarter, Towns came alive in the second half going 9-17 in the third quarter.
Moving from the veteran to the rookie, Anthony Edwards has really been making a name for himself on this team. One rebound away from his first NBA double-double, Edwards scored 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Throwing down a respectable dunk against the Raptors, he didn’t disappoint against the Bulls, scoring dunk No. 19 of the season.
Whether you’re a team leading the conference or you’re in dead last, a 0-6 record in six games is a tough pill to swallow. However, the Timberwolves never let the Bulls run away with the game, giving them only a 14-point lead, which slowly decreased in the fourth. They also took advantage of second chance opportunities and weak defense in the paint. And thanks to a lucky shooting foul on Rubio by Coby White, they had a chance to break their five-game losing streak. Traveling to Washington and facing a team toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Timberwolves have a good chance of breaking this losing streak again on Friday.
Chicago Bulls Highlights
Zach LaVine’s first NBA game was November 8, 2014 as a Timberwolf against the Miami Heat, where he scored 5 points. Fast forward a little over six years later, a few Dunk Champion titles under his belt, and an All-Star game invitation, LaVine scored 35 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists against his former team. Leading the team in points, this game puts LaVine in third for most 30-point games this season behind Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal. LaVine continues to lead this young Bulls team, now with the possibility of some offseason play.
LaVine wasn’t the only player on the Bulls that had a good scoring game last night. Center Wendell Carter Jr. came up big with a double-double, scoring 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists. While the team is still struggling with the absence of Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, it’s been great having Carter Jr. taking command of the center position.
That being said, the Bulls are far from the perfect team, as they continue to be plagued by small mistakes. The Bulls had 20 turnovers, the most since Jan. 15 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, resulting in 23 points for the Timberwolves. Also, with a regulation win in sight, Coby White takes a foul on Rubio which bring them to overtime. With a team that oftentimes finds themselves playing in games where the lead is within 5 points in the last five minutes, they need to be able to play smart until the very end and not take costly fouls. The Bulls will look for their fourth straight win on Friday against a red hot Phoenix Suns.