CHICAGO – Zach LaVine scored
35 points against his former team, and the Bulls spoiled Jimmy Butler’s return to the United Center with a 114-113 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Butler scored 38 to finish one shy of a season high. But the Bulls rallied from 17 down to snap a seven-game losing streak.
LaVine came up big down the stretch, scoring eight in the final 1:11. He nailed three free throws after getting fouled by Butler to put the Bulls ahead with 18.4 seconds left.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Butler missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds, giving Minnesota another tight loss.
Butler and Taj Gibson got standing ovations before their first game against the team that drafted them. There were more loud cheers following a video tribute in the first quarter, with both players standing and waving as the fans rose to their feet.
Butler delivered the sort of all-around performance Bulls fans grew accustomed to during his six seasons before the draft night trade to Minnesota for LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. The four-time All-Star finished with seven rebounds and five assists.
Andrew Wiggins scored 18, Towns added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Gibson scored 10 for the Timberwolves, who came up short again after losing in overtime to Cleveland on Wednesday.
Robin Lopez scored 19 for the Bulls.
Note: Dunn has had two days of contact in practice since being removed from the NBA’s concussion protocol, and the Bulls expect to have him at least practicing without limitations next week, coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Dunn missed his ninth consecutive game and is not expected to play against Washington on Saturday. Asked if he has been ruled out for Monday’s game against Orlando, Hoiberg said, “Don’t know yet.” ... The Bulls held out forward Noah Vonleh after he was acquired from Portland before Thursday’s trade deadline. Hoiberg said he might be available on Saturday. Drafted ninth overall by Charlotte in 2014, Vonleh has averaged 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. ... The Bulls waived guard/forward Tony Allen after acquiring him from New Orleans in the deal that sent forward Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans last week.
Timberwolves: Host Sacramento on Sunday.
Bulls: Host Washington on Saturday.