NBA Basketball

Zach LaVine, Bulls aim for to continue upturn vs. Wolves

The Chicago Bulls will shoot for their third win in a row when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Chicago is coming off back-to-back victories over the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets to pull within two games of .500 during its first season under head coach Billy Donovan. With another triumph, the Bulls would match their longest winning streak of the season.

The game also marks the first since Bulls guard Zach LaVine was named as an Eastern Conference All-Star representative. LaVine became the first Bulls player to make the All-Star team since Jimmy Butler in 2017.

"I try to live in the moment, but I definitely thought bigger picture because even if I didn't make the team, I knew that obviously I think I was one of the better players in the Eastern Conference," LaVine said. "And I have my team fighting for the eighth spot to get into the playoffs, and that was my main goal.

"Once you start winning, everything comes with that, and individually this has helped me out a lot and it was deserving, and I'm thankful for that, but it makes you more hungry.

"You want more for me and the team, and that success, I think it just carries on. So I'm excited to see where it goes from here. And I'm definitely not content, I think you guys know me for that. I definitely want to keep pushing that envelope."

The next test for LaVine and the Bulls will come against the Timberwolves, who will play on short rest after a 139-112 road loss against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. Karl-Anthony Towns and Malik Beasley had 26 points apiece to lead Minnesota.

Defense proved to be the Timberwolves' biggest problem. The team allowed the Bucks to shoot 53.5 percent overall (53 of 99) and 47.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (20 of 42).

Minnesota lost its fifth game in a row and its first since firing head coach Ryan Saunders and replacing him with Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch.

As the new leader of a team that has only seven wins in 32 games, Finch insisted that the Timberwolves could find success.

"There's great potential that lies in this team," Finch said. "The opportunity to get to work and try to maximize our players and our opportunities and build a foundation that will lead us to further success is one that really piques my interest.

"The job was appealing because it's a great opportunity with a good, young roster. I think it's the right time to take steps forward and develop an identity."

The Timberwolves will look for a bounce-back performance from top rookie Anthony Edwards, who managed only nine points on 3-for-13 shooting against the Bucks. Big man Naz Reid also will look to improve after a 2-for-7 shooting performance off the bench.

LaVine leads Chicago with an average of 28.6 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per contest. Coby White has provided a strong perimeter presence in his second season, averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists.

This will be the first meeting of the season between the teams.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 24, 2021

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