The Minnesota Timberwolves turned in another sloppy defensive performance as they lost to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls pull away from the Timberwolves
The Timberwolves arrived at United Center on Friday night having given up at least 105 points to their opponent in their last 12 games. They headed out of town later that evening with the number stretched to 13, and perhaps more alarming, they’ve now given up at least 130 points in consecutive games.
The Wolves kept pace for the first three quarters, however, as their own offense was firing on all cylinders.
Anthony Edwards bounced back from some inefficient and underwhelming performances over the past week and was able to get to the rim early and often against the Bulls. Karl-Anthony Towns had a strong start to the game as well, and the Wolves and Bulls went back and forth in an efficient first half.
But as the game wore on, the Wolves struggled mightily to contain DeMar DeRozan, who has been one of the league’s best scorers this season.
Compounding the issue was the Wolves’ sudden inability to match the Bulls from downtown. Chicago entered the game as the team attempting the least 3-pointers per game, but No. 3 in percentage. Indeed, they only attempted 31 long-range shots compared to the Wolves’ 40, but they made 14 while Minnesota only cashed in 13.
Still, the Wolves were only down by one point heading into the fourth quarter and took a brief three-point lead early in the frame, but the Bulls pulled away down the stretch using the above recipe: a lot of DeRozan, precious little Wolves resistance, and a bunch of clanked 3-point attempts from Chris Finch’s crew.
Player grades from Timberwolves’ road loss to Chicago Bulls
Let’s hand out a few player grades from the Timberwolves’ loss to the Bulls.
Anthony Edwards: B+
31 points (12-22 FG, 3-9 3P, 4-6 FT), 8 assists, 6 rebounds, one block, 4 turnovers
Edwards looked much more like himself on Friday night, although frequent winces and grimaces suggested that his knee is clearly still bothering him.
Edwards attacked early and often, and when the Bulls finally adjusted and began collapsing on him in the lane, he did a solid job passing the ball. It was his highest assist total since he had 10 dimes on Jan. 28 against Phoenix, and his second-highest in any game this year.
As the game went on Edwards began to settle for more perimeter jump shots, but this was largely an impressive performance from the second-year player.
Karl-Anthony Towns: A
27 points (12-19 FG, 1-3 3P, 2-3 FT), 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, one block
Towns played another fantastic game. He continued to score regularly in face-up situations on drives to the basket. Opposing teams seem to have calculated that forcing him to drive into the defense is better than allowing him to fire away from deep; Towns only attempted three 3-pointers in the game, making one.
Towns passed the ball adeptly once again, dishing out eight assists without committing a single turnover. After turnover issues plagued him early in the season, the numbers have started to settle back towards his career average in terms of miscues per game.
D’Angelo Russell: C+
18 points (6-13 FG, 2-6 3P, 4-4 FT), 3 assists, one rebound, one steal, 3 turnovers
Russell struggled on both ends of the floor in this one. He was sloppy with the ball in his hands, and the decision-making was generally subpar.
He was also a clear negative on the defensive end of the floor, failing to contain the likes of Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. While Zach LaVine struggled offensively, the rest of the Bulls’ dynamic backcourt players were able to score at will and operate freely — even without the injured Lonzo Ball.
The Wolves head to Indianapolis for a matinee against the Pacers on Sunday. Indiana has lost five straight games and has a bit of a new look to their roster after the deadline deal that brought Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton to town and shipped out Domantas Sabonis, among others.