Chicago Bulls at Minnesota Timberwolves: Yeah, it was ugly
The Chicago Bulls ended their six-game road trip in Minnesota on Sunday, against dear friend Tom Thibodeau. Chicago was attempting to go 3-3 on their road trip with a depleted roster from injuries or sickness. Here’s what happened.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won the first meeting against the Chicago Bulls, 99-94, and this one had the potential to get ugly, as the Bulls were without Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Nikola Mirotic and Paul Zipser. Jerian Grant, Michael Carter-Williams and Doug McDermott all started for the Bulls.
So yeah, things didn’t look great.
And boy, it was ugly.
If you watched this whole game as well, my heart goes out to you. I wish you would have gone outside, or checked out John Wick 2. Really, anything would have been better than watching this game.
Chicago’s starting lineup was predictably bad, scoring five points during their 5:19 stretch to open the game. The Bulls shot 7-for-21 in the quarter, and 2-of-7 from 3-point range.
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Ricky Rubio absolutely controlled the game in the first quarter, scoring nine points, dishing out four assists and adding one sneaky steal. He torched Rondo running the pick and roll and found Andrew Wiggins for an easy lob. Wiggins ended the quarter with 11 points.
One Bulls thing of note in the first: Isaiah Canaan sighting!
Not only did he manage to get into the game, he immediately hit a 3, got a steal and then found Rajon Rondo for the transition layup. That was about the only fun Bulls basketball sequence of the first.
The second quarter was painful to watch. Doug McDermott absolutely bricked, I’m talking didn’t even touch the rim, two shots. Rondo was being awful all over the place with head-scratching turnovers and lazy defense. For some reason he tried two 3-pointers. Neither went in.
The Bulls headed into halftime trailing, 57-40.
Fun Chicago thing that happened in the second: Cristiano Felicio threw down another lob. He seems to put at least one down a game.
Parts of the third quarter looked promising. The Bulls would cut down Minnesota’s lead just to see it balloon back up again. Chicago made five 3-pointers, with four of them coming from McDermott.
But for the most part McDermott and the Bulls struggled. McDermott had one beautiful sequence where he air-balled a running layup against two defenders, then got blocked by Brandon Rush on a jumper.
Chicago treated defense as optional, letting Minnesota shoot 50 percent through three quarters and allowed them to get to the free throw line 20 times.
Then, the fourth quarter happened. The Timberwolves scored 33 points and the final score was 117-89.
No one else on the Bulls got hurt. That’s a good thing.
The Bulls defense as cooking appliance: a sieve. Minnesota shot a putrid 6-of-24 from behind the arc, but still managed to shoot 54 percent from the field for the game. Chicago’s attempts at double-teaming Karl Anthony-Towns were just sad.
Rubio finished with 17 points and 11 assists, KAT had 22 points, and Wiggins had 27. All three routinely sliced Chicago’s defense to shreds, whether it was driving to the basket or in the post.
Chicago ran so many possessions through Robin Lopez in the post that you would have thought he was Shaquille O’Neal. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.
It’s almost too good to be true that the Bulls made double-digit 3s for the first time in 16 games in the same game they lost by 28.
All you need to know about the game from one play:
Was it bad? Oh, yeah.
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