Wolves Lose Third Summer League Game 107-73 to Chicago

Fesenko was the leading scorer for the Wolves in Tuesday's loss, finishing with 13 points.

Megan Schuster
Web Editorial Assistant

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Minnesota came into Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls 0-2 in Summer League contests. The Wolves lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday afternoon and the Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

Chicago would be no easy test for the Wolves, with the Summer League’s leading scorer Tony Snell on the Bulls’ roster, and also sharpshooter Doug McDermott who the Bulls took with the 11th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Wolves fought hard on Tuesday, but their offense couldn’t fight through Chicago’s defense and they had no answer for McDermott. The Wolves lost their third Summer League contest 107-73 to the Bulls.

McDermott showed what all his hype has been about early on. He hit two quick shots—one from 3-point range—and the Bulls took an 8-5 lead over the Wolves.

Kyrylo Fesenko—who has NBA experience playing for the Utah Jazz—was in the starting lineup for the Wolves, playing in the four spot with Gorgui Dieng at the five. He replaced Alexey Shved—who had started the first two contests for Minnesota—and had six of the Wolves’ first nine points in the game.

Chicago had success against the Minnesota defense, with their outside shooters spreading the floor and clearing out the lane to get easy passing into the post. Dieng had three early fouls too, making defending the lane even more difficult for the Wolves.

The Bulls were on an 11-1 run late in the first quarter, but the Wolves came storming back with nine straight points, seven of which were from D.J. Kennedy—who was 3-of-3 from the field in the quarter. Heading into the second, Minnesota trailed Chicago 22-19.

To start the second, Fesenko took a great pass from LaVine in the low paint and finished it with a foul. Those three points brought his total in the game up to nine, and tied Minnesota with Chicago at 22 points a piece. Chicago really had no defense for Fesenko in the post, as his 7-foot-1 frame towered over the Bulls players on the court. Minnesota’s guards took full advantage and the Wolves took back a lead.

It was a back-and-forth quarter between the Bulls and Wolves, with both teams showing off different assets and solid shooting—the Bulls shot 54.5 percent from the floor, and the Wolves were right behind them at 48.6 percent.

Zach LaVine and McDermott seemed to be in a battle as to which was the better first round draft pick this year, and both performed well under the pressure—McDermott with 13 points in the half and LaVine with five points and three assists. McDermott led the Bulls in scoring, and Fesenko led the Wolves with 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor. Heading into the second half, Chicago had a 49-43 lead over the Wolves.

The Wolves opened the half with some aggressive play, but McDermott could not be stopped. Even with hands in his face, pressure off the dribble and tough situations that the Wolves’ defense put him in, McDermott continued to hit shots. Three minutes into the half, Minnesota was down 57-46.

While the Wolves struggled from the floor, Chicago continued to press hard on the offensive end. The Bulls were up by as many as 22 in the quarter, though Minnesota would battle to try to keep their deficit within reach. LaVine had a few tough baskets in the quarter, taking a leadership role while playing point, but it wasn’t enough. The Wolves were down 81-59 at the end of the third.

As much as the Wolves wanted to make a comeback, the team just couldn’t stop the bleeding in the fourth. They were down by as many as 36 points in the quarter. Despite double-digit efforts from Fesenko, LaVine and Muhammad, no one else on the team had more than nine points.

The Bulls continued to pour it on, never letting the Wolves get their head above water, and Minnesota lost its third game of Summer League 107-73 to Chicago.

The Numbers Game

  • Three Wolves players scored in double figures on Tuesday—Fesenko, LaVine and Muhammad—compared to six players from the Bulls.
  • Minnesota was 12-of-22 from the free-throw line, a 54.5 percent mark.
  • LaVine played a game-high 29 minutes, and finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Looking Ahead

The Wolves will play at least two more Summer League games, and their tournament bracket will be determined by their play compared to the other teams in the showcase. Those games have yet to be announced, but will be soon as the initial set of games end for teams. Stay tuned to Timberwolves.com for the next announcement of games.