The Chicago Bulls played their final game before the NBA trade deadline Tuesday night, rallying from 23 points down to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 129-123 in overtime at the United Center.
"It shows we have resiliency," Coby White said. "It's hard way to live, honestly."
It’s the fifth largest comeback since the play-by-play era began in 1997-98 and also their last home game until after the All-Star break on Feb. 22.
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Here are 10 observations:
---In a nod to the Timberwolves’ frontline featuring Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, coach Billy Donovan started Andre Drummond alongside Nikola Vucevic. While Donovan has utilized that pairing more prominently of late to stem depth woes caused by injuries, this is the first time they started together.
"That at least gave us some stabilizing force up front with as big as they are," Donovan said. "That really helped."
---Drummond finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. If this his last game as a Bull---multiple teams have called on his availability---he went out in his typically entertaining style. He flashed the “too small” gesture on 7-foot-1-inch Rudy Gobert and gestured to the United Center rafters after scoring over Gobert on second effort.
"Andre was really good on the glass," Donovan said. "I thought he was physical. Shots we missed, he was chasing them down. Considering we hadn't done that pairing a lot, I thought both of them played well together."
---The Timberwolves sport the league’s top-ranked defense. But the Bulls were the ones to flash prowess at that end, posting a season-high 16 blocked shots. That included Nikola Vucevic spiking Anthony Edwards shot at the buzzer. The Bulls improved to 15-12 in clutch games, defined as being within five points or less with 5 minutes or less to play. They lead the NBA in most clutch minutes played at 121.
---The Bulls missed their first nine 3-point shots but rallied to finish 12-for-30. After all the offseason talk about changing the shot profile, the Bulls rank in the bottom third of the league in 3-point makes, attempts and percentage. They’ve only made more 3-pointers than their opponent three times since Dec. 21. The Timberwolves made 20, including seven from Karl-Anthony Towns.
---Anthony Edwards stuffed 13 of his 38 points into his typical rotational turn of playing the entire first quarter. This featured a highlight-reel dunk in the vicinity of Ayo Dosunmu. Edwards also got to the line six times alone in the first quarter and 11 times for the game. But the Bulls trapped Edwards more in the second half, limiting 15 points after halftime.
---Coby White missed his first four 3-point attempts and shot 1-for-7 in the first half. But in another example of his growth, he stayed with it and sank seven 3-pointers in a 30-point second half. White finished with 33 points and seven assists and led a second-half comeback from 23 points down that forced overtime when DeMar DeRozan airballed a midrange jumper at the regulation jumper.
"That's nothing for him," Drummond said. "Coby White is incredible. This is what he does. He hit a lot of big shots. Defensively, he was great."
---Crew chief and veteran official Tony Brothers left in the second half with an injury that NBC Sports Chicago broadcasters Adam Amin and Stacey King called an Achilles injury. Che Flores and CJ Washington finished the game as a two-person crew. Washington whistled Kyle Anderson with the rare bench technical foul with 1:26 to play.
In a pool report following the game, Brothers said Anderson drew the infraction because he "continued to complain" after "being instructed to stop complaining." Brothers wasn't on the court when the technical was assessed but spoke to a pool reporter as the crew chief.
---Torrey Craig played his second straight game after missing 22 with a sprained right plantar fascia. Donovan said Craig remains on a 20- to 22-minute limit for now, which is about what the reserve averages anyway. He finished with seven points and six rebounds in 22 minutes and had a huge block on Karl-Anthony Towns late in regulation and strong defense on a late possession in regulation. Unfortunately, Craig limped off after White took a charge on Edwards, who rolled onto Craig’s left ankle. Donovan didn't yet know the status of Craig's ankle injury.
---Alex Caruso recorded a first-quarter block to extend his streak with at least one to 17 games. It’s the longest current streak in the NBA and third-longest in franchise history behind Michael Jordan and Tyrus Thomas. Jordan once had a streak of 18 games, while Thomas posted a 29-game streak. Like Drummond and Vucevic, he had four blocks.
---Typically, coaches utilize assistant coaches and second-row staff support for guidance on challenging calls. This time, Donovan used an extremely rare first-quarter challenge on his own after seeing the replay on the United Center scoreboard. Donovan won, overturning a foul call on Drummond, who had cleanly blocked Edwards. Donovan won another crucial challenge in overtime, overturning a foul on DeRozan on an Edwards shot that Caruso blocked.