DeRozan scores 49 points, Bulls win marathon over Minnesota

The Minneapolis 150 was a rallying point for the Bulls earlier this season.

That's not some sort of snowmobile race, but the number of points allowed when the Bulls played at Minnesota on Dec. 18. The result prompted a spirited team meeting that seemed to set the Bulls in the right direction. They went 15-9 over the following six weeks before stumbling into the all-star break on a six-game losing streak.

Mostly, though, this game came down to the Bulls getting two important defensive stops. For the third straight home contest, a Bulls opponent had the final possession in a tie game. Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton and Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox both drained 3-pointers for the win.

This time, the Bulls survived the opponents' final possession in both regulation and overtime, then beat the Timberwolves 139-131 in double overtime on Friday at the United Center.

Minnesota had the final possession in a tie game twice. In regulation, Kyle Anderson, working against Zach LaVine, lost the ball and was called for double-dribble. At the end of the first overtime, Jaden McDaniels missed a 3-pointer over Nikola Vucevic.

Did the Bulls manage to improve their late-game defense?

"You try," coach Billy Donovan said. "We had a foul to give (in OT), so we could be really aggressive and weren't worried about fouling.

"We wanted to deny and be physical. We did a better job of staying up into the ball and creating pressure and physicality without fouling."

DeMar DeRozan piled up 49 points, 14 rebounds and 3 steals in 52 minutes. The Bulls have to play again Saturday night against Miami, which had Friday off.

"The only guy I'm concerned about right now is Alex (Caruso)," Donovan said. "Coming off that illness, I've got to believe he was exhausted. I checked with him a couple times late in the game into overtime and he said he was OK. My thing is eat well, rest and do everything you can to get yourself physically ready to play."

DeRozan recorded his 1,000th career steal Friday. He's one of 24 players in NBA history with at least 20,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 4,000 assists and 1,000 steals.

LaVine added 39 points, while Vucevic finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. LaVine was asked about the late-game success.

"Play hard, man. Leave it all out there," LaVine said. "I think that's what we did. We made mistakes, we might have fouled or overplayed, but we were doing everything aggressive with the right mindset. We were trying to help each other and get a win."

Mike Conley led Minnesota with 28 points after teammate Anthony Edwards left Friday's game with an ankle injury eight minutes into the game.

Edwards fell to the ground after throwing a pass and landing awkwardly. He immediately grabbed his right ankle, while pounding the floor with his fist in frustration. Replays showed he might have landed on the foot of Vucevic or Alex Caruso, who were both nearby.

When Edwards climbed to his feet and was helped into the locker room, he didn't put any weight on his injured leg. He later appeared on the end of the bench in a walking boot.

Minnesota center Rudy Gobert (19 rebounds, 5 blocks) was called for his sixth foul with 1:05 left in overtime and was livid, but the Timberwolves had already used their challenge. Gobert appeared to hit DeRozan's wrist early in the shooting process and it allowed the Bulls to tie the game on the 3-point play.

The second overtime ended with a strange sequence. First, the referee called a jump ball between Patrick Beverley and Conley, even though there was no evidence of Conley ever getting his hands on the ball. Conley won the tip, then Naz Reid's driving layup that could have tied the score rolled off the rim with 1:37 left.

DeRozan hit a jumper, then after Beverley fouled out and Minnesota hit a free throw, the Timberwolves tried to trap, but left the lane open for a Vucevic dunk and 3-point play.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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Bulls center Nikola Vucevic dunks against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker during the second overtime in Chicago, Friday. Associated Press
Naz Reid, left, pulls in a rebound next to Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond during the first half in Chicago, Friday. Associated Press
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