The Bulls came limping home Sunday from their long road trip with their third consecutive loss, being chewed up by the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-89.
The Bulls fell to 26-29 in losing the last three games all by double digits and by an average of 26 points per game. Minnesota moved to 21-34.
The Bulls were led by Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis each with 16 points. Michael Carter-Williams had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Rajon Rondo had 10 points and six assists and Robin Lopez had 10 points. Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 27 and Karl-Anthony Towns had 22. The Bulls play Toronto in the United Center Tuesday.
The Bulls did make 10 three pointers, but were crushed on the boards 46-35, outrun on fast break points with Minnesota having 18 while the Bulls committed 18 turnovers.
The Bulls were hurting in the last stop on their two-week road trip. Jimmy Butler went out again with his bad heel after missing three games and playing in Phoenix. Dwyane Wade was out with a sore wrist from a fall in the Phoenix game. In addition, Nikola Mirotic came down with back spasms and Paul Zipser, who was out with an ankle injury, also became ill and had to remain back at the team hotel. The Bulls started McDermott, Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant with Taj Gibson and Lopez, and it was a tough start after the Bulls opened with a 4-2 lead going inside to Lopez. The Timberwolves then blitzed the Bulls with a fast breaking and shooting game, blowing out to a 19-5 lead. The Bulls took a timeout, but the Timberwolves continue to pile on, building up a 31-12 lead and leading 34-17 after the first quarter. Minnesota shot 64 percent led by Wiggins with 14 points. The Bulls had six early turnovers and Minnesota ended with 18 points in the paint in the first quarter. The Timberwolves didn’t let up much in the second quarter, taking an early 45-19 lead before the Bulls began to finally asset themselves. Portis made a pair of baskets and then the Bulls closed the second quarter with their only sustained play, a 15-6 run with McDermott and Grant threes to get the Bulls within 57-40 at the half. Portis led the Bulls with nine first half points. The Timberwolves still shot 57 percent in the first half, but were one of 11 on threes. Minnesota had a dominant 26-14 rebounding advantage in the first half for usually one of the league’s best rebounding teams. It was a tough, scoreless first half for Gibson with the Timberwolves concentrating a constant double team and trap on Gibson with Butler and Wade out. Minnesota had 10 first half fast break points.
After the Timberwolves again started the half well with a 9-1 run to put the Bulls behind 66-41, the Bulls awakened behind the three-point shooting of McDermott. He made three of the long ones, the third on a three-on-one break in transition as, of all things, the three-point shooting got the Bulls back in the game as they trailed 75-62 with 2:29 left on the third quarter against a Minnesota team that made up a 21-point deficit to beat the Bulls in December in the United Center. Portis again helped open the court for the Bulls by running the court with this game’s second unit showing more spirit. But indicative of the way things were going for the Bulls, they committed a turnover on a four-on-one break and went into the fourth quarter trailing 84-65. The Timberwolves then pulled away with nine straight points after the Bulls were still within 92-73 with eight minutes left in the game.