CHICAGO- The Chicago Bulls coughed up a 21 point lead to the Minnesota Timberwolves in former head coach tom thibodeau’s return to the United center.
Tom Thibodeau led his stumbling Minnesota Timberwolves into the United Center in Chicago on Tuesday evening, a place that he once called home, before he was ousted by the Bulls front office in a largely publicized disagreement in philosophies. The Bulls parted ways with Thibs’ after the 2014-2015 season ended with a Eastern Conference Semi-Finals loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thibodeau, after taking a year off from the NBA took the reigns of the Minnesota Timberwolves this past spring, becoming the Head Coach and General Manager. The Timberwolves entered play tonight struggling, but were able to overcome a 21 point deficit to defeat the Bulls 99-94 on Tuesday night in Chicago.
Thibodeau was greeted to a large standing ovation from the United Center crowd during the pre-game lineup announcements. The Bulls came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, running out to a 38-22 lead after the first quarter.
The Wolves’ entered the second quarter trailing by 16, and eventually trailed by 21 before they reeled off a 30 point quarter of their own in the second. Minnesota would outscore the Bulls by 12 in the second and then seven in the third quarter.
The Bulls stayed resilient after coughing up the sizeable early lead, but fell short in the end. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls in scoring again with 27 points, coupled with nine rebounds on the evening. Robin Lopez scored 14 while grabbing five rebounds and four blocks and Dwyane Wade contributed 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
The Timberwolves were led by Andrew Wiggins on Tuesday as Wiggins scored 23 points to go along with nine rebounds. Zach LaVine scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds while the defending NBA Rookie of the Year Karl Anthony Towns scored 16 and grabbed 12 rebounds.
The Bulls fell to 13-11 on the season with the loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday evening, and have lost six of their last 10 games after starting out the season strong. The loss pushes the Bulls down to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Celtics. The Bulls trail the Cavaliers by five and a half games in the Central Division after the first quarter mark of the NBA season.
The Bulls offense is becoming a major point of concern right now, as the team currently ranks 20th in the league in points per game, 21st in the league in field goal percentage, and 30th in three point shooting percentage.
Next up on the schedule for the Chicago Bulls is a visit to the Central Division rival to the north, the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday evening. The Bucks hold an 11-12 record as of this evening, and are on the outside looking in on the playoff picture early in the season. Tip-off on Thursday night is 7:00 PM (CT), catch the action on WGN-TV and WLS 890AM.