Zach LaVine scored 35 points against his former team, including three free throws with 18.4 seconds left, and the Chicago Bulls rallied for a 114-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at the United Center.
Robin Lopez added 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting as the Bulls snapped a seven-game losing streak. Jerian Grant recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists.
The game marked the teams’ first meeting since a draft day trade that shipped Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for LaVine, Kris Dunn and a first-round pick (No. 7 overall) that the Bulls used to select Lauri Markkanen. Chicago sent back its first-round pick (No. 16 overall), which Minnesota used to select center Justin Patton.
LaVine and Butler traded big baskets down the stretch to set up a dramatic finish. Butler missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have given the Timberwolves the victory.
Butler scored a game-high 38 points against his former team. Karl-Anthony Towns posted his 49th double-double in 58 games with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Minnesota lost its second game in a row.
Chicago trailed by five points with 1:20 to go but pulled within 111-108 on a dunk by LaVine with 1:11 remaining. Twenty seconds later, LaVine evened the score at 111 with a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Butler split a pair of defenders for a layup to put Minnesota on top 113-111 with 21.5 seconds left. On the opposite end of the court, referees ruled that Butler fouled LaVine on a 3-point attempt. LaVine sank all three free throws to put Chicago on top 114-113.
The Bulls erased a 17-point deficit early in the second half to grab an 89-86 lead entering the fourth quarter. Denzel Valentine capped the 33-13 run to close the third quarter with a basket at the buzzer.
Minnesota established a 67-56 lead at halftime. Butler hit a long-range 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds to go before the break to give the Timberwolves their largest lead of the first half.
The Bulls paid tribute to Butler and Taj Gibson with a video on the scoreboard during a stoppage in play in the first quarter. Fans roared for both players, who stood to acknowledge the ovation.
—Field Level Media