Enhanced Box Score: Bulls 139, Timberwolves 131 – March 17, 2023
As I sit here and immediately think about what I just watched, I can’t decide if it was good basketball or bad basketball. But at least I can say it was fun basketball!
The first half favored the Timberwolves. While the Bulls were able to hang around, a familiar advantage in offensive rebounds and 3-pointers gave Minnesota a relatively comfortable 5-point lead heading into the locker room. The Bulls undoubtedly had a chance to claw back in the game, especially with Anthony Edwards leaving with a scary ankle injury. But I’d be lying if I said flashbacks of the T-Wolves pulling away as they did in December didn’t enter my mind, especially during the 3rd quarter.
Despite DeMar DeRozan hitting bucket after bucket and Zach LaVine finally picking up steam, the Timberwolves were still able to increase their lead and walk into the final frame up 90-80.
I’m convinced Billy Donovan then showed them the score of the Wizards game.
With a chance to reclaim the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference after Washington got blown out by the Cavaliers, the Bulls owned the final frame. DeRozan and LaVine combined for 24 of the team’s 33 points in the quarter. The two showed no fear driving right into Rudy Gobert, which ultimately helped move him into foul trouble as the game headed to overtime. He went on to foul out with 1:02 left in the first OT, and the bucket that did it was a clutch and-one finish by DeRozan to tie the game at 121 apiece.
Jaden McDaniels went down to score on a 5-foot floating jumper, but LaVine turned out the jets to knot the game back up and force the final period. Finally, without Gobert and Edwards available in the second OT, the team’s “Big 3” did what they were supposed to and scored every Bulls point to close out the game. And that included this insane slam by Nikola Vucevic …
Again, it may not have been pretty, but it was an entertaining game and one the Bulls had to have. Considering how low expectations have become, I’m genuinely satisfied with the fact that they were able to stay motivated and pull this one out.
Now, onto Miami … in less than 24 hours.
Check out the full box score here.