Bulls-Timberwolves: At a glance


The result: The Minnesota Timberwolves (15-27) pulled out a 109-108 overtime home victory over the Bulls (18-27), who have now lost five straight and nine of 13 games this month.

The good: The Bulls jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first quarter while the Wolves were clanging their first 11 shots. Joakim Noah came back Hulk Hogan-style from his Scott Hastings impersonation against the Raptors to submit a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) to go along with 3 assists and 7 Wilsonburgers served. Luol Deng (22 points, 7-for-14, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) looked like the Loul of 2005-06. Ben Gordon’s targeting computer was on the mark (10-for-20 from the field and 3-for-6 from downtown for his team-high 23 points). In fact, the Bulls shot pretty well as a team (47 percent) and — in a refreshing change of pace — managed to force more turnovers than they committed (17-15).

The bad: That 16-point lead? Lost it.  But they still managed to go up 97-94 on Noah’s layup with 1:08 to go in the fourth quarter. However, Minnesota scored the next four points (off a hook shot and a tip-in by Jefferson) to force OT. So, you know, here’s another game that can be filed under “Come-From-Ahead Losses.” Derrick Rose’s performance was reasonably solid (18 points, 7 assists) but he also committed a team-high 5 turnovers and blew two golden opportunities to put the game away: He gonged a 17-foot jumper at the end of regulation and later forced (and missed) an off-balance shot under heavy pressure at the end of overtime. (Time for John Paxson to put out a “Clutch Scorer Wanted” sign outside the United Center, I think…)

The ugly: Kirk Hinrich must have caught whatever Noah had against Toronto, because he was dreadful (1 point, 0-for-7, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 3 turnovers). Despite Noah’s 7 blocked shots, Chicago’s interior defenselessness again proved to be their undoing. Al Jefferson scored a season-high 39 points — yes, another frontcourt player had his best game of the year against us — and Kevin Love came off the bench to contribute 19 points (8-for-11) and 15 boards (including 5 on the offensive end). Oh, and Love’s rebound total represented a career-high. Not to go all Hubie Brown on you, but teams that can’t control or at least somewhat protect the paint aren’t going to win many games.

Extras: Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

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One Response to Bulls-Timberwolves: At a glance

  1. firstplaceintheadamrace@gmail.com'
    Adam January 26, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    It’s encouraging to see Luol Deng play like he has of late. If he can keep this up, he should remain on the team for the remainder of his contract at least.

    What’s less fun to watch, though, is the shot selection and team offense as a whole in crunch time. You singled out Rose, but the whole team needs a crash course in moving without the ball. Both times Rose failed to win the game the rest of the guys on the court just stood there. Derrick’s a great player but when big Al Jefferson swoops over as help defender Rose doesn’t have a chance.

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