CHICAGO – Carlos Boozer had 24 points and nine rebounds to lead the Bulls to a 92-81 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Richard Hamilton added 15 points, Luol Deng scored 14 and Taj Gibson had 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Bulls (3-2), who never trailed in the game.
Andrei Kirilenko scored nine of his 12 points in the second half for the Timberwolves. Dante Cunningham also scored 12 points in his first start in place of injured forward Kevin Love.
Minnesota (3-2) was playing its first game since Love broke his hand in a training accident, putting him out of action for six to eight weeks.
Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said before the game that Cunningham and second-year forward Derrick Williams will vie for minutes during Love’s absence. Williams was limited to five points in 23 minutes.
The Bulls jumped out to a 14-2 lead, hitting all six of their shots from the field. Minnesota attempted just three shots while committing four turnovers during the Bulls’ run.
The Bulls built the lead to 15 points by halftime, with Boozer scoring 11 of his 18 first-half points in the second period. The Bulls eventually led by as many as 18 points in the second half.
Minnesota was unable to draw closer than 11 during the final period, when Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau put his starters back on the floor.
Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio and Chicago’s Derrick Rose, a pair of star point guards rehabbing from serious knee injuries, both were seen shooting jumpers before the game. The pair chatted briefly.