The Timberwolves accumulated their sixth consecutive loss on Wednesday when they lost to the Chicago Bulls 133-126 in an even game in which the shots in the last seconds of regulation time by Spanish guard Ricky Rubio allowed Minnesotans to force overtime.
With 4.9 seconds left in the game, and with 119-116 on the scoreboard, Ricky Rubio skillfully forced a personal when he was behind the 3-point line. The Spanish point guard scored all three free throws, which tied the game 119-119 and allowed the Wolves to dream of breaking the losing streak they have accumulated.
But in overtime, the Bulls hit a 7-0 run right into overtime, making it impossible for the Wolves to win the game, especially since they didn’t have their main man, center Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT ), on the bench after committing his sixth personal foul.
Once again, Zach Lavine’s effectiveness was devastating. The Bulls star was the leading scorer of the game with 35 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists although he also lost 7 balls. His teammate Coby White had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and also 7 turnovers.
In the Wolves, this time the most effective was Malik Beasley, with 25 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist while KAT stayed at 24 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Ricky Rubio was the king of assists, with 10 to which he added 9 points and 1 rebound.
The game started with the Wolves dominating the floor. Ricky Rubio, who in recent weeks with D’Angelo Russell’s absence due to injury has gained minutes and confidence, showed off with a series of assists to Jarred Vanderbilt in the paint.
The collaboration between Rubio and Vanderbilt, who had a great night with 16 points and 6 rebounds, allowed the forward to add 9 points in the first 4 minutes. The Wolves were working, both in attack and defense, their great Achilles heel, which allowed them to lead 7 points on the scoreboard, 16-23.
But with the arrival of the rotation and the entrance of the bench, the Wolves lost defensive intensity and the advantage was reduced to 2 points at the end of the first quarter, 32-34.
The Wolves returned to the court with the players on the bench (Jordan McLaughlin, Jaylen Nowell, Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid and Josh Okogie) and the Bulls endorsed a 14-4 run, making it 46-38. With the increasing distance on the scoreboard, the young Wolves players were once again in a rush to try to make up lost ground.
And KAT racked up three personals, after committing two in a row, forcing Finch to seat the center ahead of schedule, further complicating the situation for Minnesotans.
The break was reached with a 68-58 on the scoreboard.
In the second half of the game, the Wolves struggled not to lose more ground to the Bulls. And KAT’s return allowed Minnesota to improve its defense and attack. The center had 15 points in those 12 minutes while Levine was only 9.
The effort paid off and at the end of the third quarter, the Timberwolves were just 6 points behind, 96-90, allowing Rubio’s team to maintain hope.
In the fourth period, the Wolves had several opportunities to get ahead on the scoreboard but the Bulls held the pressure and with 4 minutes to go they managed to get 8 points ahead, 111-103.
Finch put Ricky Rubio on the court and the Wolves improved their defense and attack. The Minnesota team posted a run of 8-13 (119-116) and in the absence of 4.9, with the ball in Rubio’s hands, the point guard received a staff that the referees decided was committed when he had started a shot. Ricky kept his cool and scored the three free throws that forced extra time.