Russell and Towns lead Wolves in win over Chicago (Minneapolis, MN) – Despite LaVine’s 50 point performance, the Bulls lost in their last game on Friday against the Hawks. Defense was a factor in that, as they allowed Atlanta to score 120 points without some of their best players in action. In this matchup tonight against the Timberwolves, Chicago will have to improve on the defensive end.
Chicago won their last game against Minnesota in OT on February 24th. In that matchup, the Wolves were without two of their best players in Karl Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Both players have had multiple seasons in their career averaging over 20 points per game, so the Bulls ability to guard them will be a key factor in the game.
Russell leads Minnesota bench to 1st half dominance
Chicago struggled from the field to start, missing 6 of their first 9 shots. The Timberwolves missed their first 5 shots, but made seven of their next 10 field goals to take a 18-9 lead with 5 minutes left. The Bulls also made seven of the next 10 shots to reduce the Minnesota lead to 29-26 going into the 2nd. Daniel Theis and Lauri Markannen combined for 13 points off the bench in the quarter.
Minnesota rookie Anthony Edwards became the first double-digit scorer in the game with 11 points. Edwards scored eight straight points for Wolves to put them up 47-41, with 7 minutes left in the 2nd. Minnesota was able to extend their advantage to double-digits, as they led 63-50 with 3 minutes left in the half. The Wolves led 66-55 going into the 2nd half.
Minnesota’s ability to get to the free throw line was a huge factor in their lead, as they made 14 shots from the charity stripe compared to only 3 for Chicago. The Wolves bench also scored 34 points, compared to 26 points for the Bulls reserves. Minnesota had 4 players in double-digits in the 1st half, led by D’Angelo Russell with 16 points. Theis was the only Bull in double-digits, with 10 points.
LaVine scores 14 in the 3rd, gets Bulls back within striking distance
Chicago defended well to start the 3rd, as they forced Minnesota to miss their first four shots, with two of those coming from blocked shots. Offensively, Nikola Vučević scored 7 points to help Chicago reduce the Minnesota lead to 70-66, with 9 minutes left. Ricky Rubio responded with 3 straight three-pointers for the Wolves to help stop the Bulls surge, making it 79-68.
Zach LaVine countered Rubio’s shooting, with consecutive three-pointers of his own. LaVine scored or assisted on 15 of the Bulls final 19 points in the quarter, reducing the Wolves lead to 91-87 going into the 4th.
Russell, Towns deliver in the 4th
Chicago’s bench started the 4th quarter well, scoring 10 points to give the starter’s some extra rest. Theis, Markannen, Troy Brown Jr. and Coby White all scored to cut the lead down to 98-97. Brown Jr. later scored again on a tip-in layup to keep the Bulls close at 105-104, with 5 minutes remaining.
Russell countered with 7 of the next 9 Wolves points, to put them up 116-109 with 2.5 minutes left in the game. Vučević and White scored on consecutive possessions for Chicago, but Towns hit a big three to put Minnesota up 119-113. LaVine responded with two layups, with the second being a potential “and-one”. LaVine missed the free throw, which led to Towns hitting two free throws to seal the win. The Wolves won 121-117
Brown Jr. had his best game with Chicago, scoring 15 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. He was one of six Bulls players in double-digit scoring, led by LaVine with 30 points.
Towns and Russell led Minnesota to victory, scoring 21 of the team’s 30 points in the 4th. They each scored 27 in the game.
Minnesota (14-40) will play the Nets (36-17) on Monday at 7pm CT.
Chicago (22-30) will play the Grizzlies (26-25) on Monday at 8pm CT.
Russell and Towns lead Wolves in win over Chicago