Hold on, don’t book a playoff date for the Chicago Bulls yet. Right now, and after Saturday night’s performance, you’d have a tough time thinking they’d go far if they did get in.
The Bulls fell in OT to a talented, energetic, but inexperienced lineup in the Minnesota Timberwolves. In fact, the Bulls were outscored 9-0 in the OT frame as they failed to score a basket or make a free-throw. Instead, the Bulls jacked up three-point attempts in a desperate shot to crawl back in the game, and came up empty.
Chicago shot 35.5% from the floor in this game, and that stat is the most telling. They started out shooting close to 50% in field-goal percentage yet couldn’t get any separation from the Wolves. The Wolves kept fighting to stay with Chicago, and finally pushed them to OT where Chicago came up empty.
Former Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, had perhaps his best game of the young season in scoring 31 points. Rookie stud Karl-Anthony Towns who starred at Kentucky last season, had 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Another rookie, Nemanja Bjelica, one of the top players in Europe last season, scored 17 for the Wolves. Guard Ricky Rubio had a good floor game, going for seven points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds.
Where was the Bulls shooting? Tonight, not present. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler went a combined 7/28 from the field, each netting 11 points. Pau Gasol led the Bulls with 21 points and 14 boards. Tony Snell found the range from the outside, and hit for 14 points, but it was far from enough to carry the team over from its big win vs. OKC, the other night.
The Wolves looked fresher and made the Bulls look slow and fatigued, especially in OT. Wiggins made a nice inside move to tie the game at 91, late in the game and that was a sign that this would be a tough night for Chicago. The Wolves out-rebounded Chicago 58-50 and got to more loose balls in the later stages of the game.
Chicago lacked tenacity, determination, or aggressiveness that it displayed last Thursday night.
After Rose’s great game against the Thunder, observers were speculating, if this could happen more frequently. Well, not tonight. Rose didn’t have it and neither did the Bulls.