Short-handed Bulls fall
CHICAGO – Kevin Love scored 31 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Bulls, 95-86, on Monday night.
Ronny Turiaf added 14 points off the bench for the Timberwolves, who snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Bulls and won for the fourth time in five games overall.
Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who played without ailing center Joakim Noah (illness) and guard Kirk Hinrich (strained right hamstring). D.J. Augustin added 19 points.
Noah was at the arena but was sent home before the game. Hinrich missed his fourth straight.
The Timberwolves also were missing their starting center. Nikola Pekovic exited with a sore right Achilles tendon midway through the first quarter. He had one point and one rebound in 6 minutes.
The Bulls pulled within five with 1:29 left on Augustin’s 3-pointer but got no closer. Love answered with a layup with 1:10 remaining, and Corey Brewer’s dunk gave the Timberwolves an 88-79 lead with 57.4 seconds left.
The Timberwolves improved to 2-11 on the road when scoring fewer than 109 points. Minnesota shot 46.6 percent compared to the Bulls’ 37.6 percent.
The Bulls had won four of five and are 10-4 in January.
Chase Budinger added 12 points off the bench for Minnesota, and Brewer had 11. Turiaf’s previous season high was six points. He was averaging 2.3.
Jimmy Butler scored 16 points, and Mike Dunleavy and Taj Gibson each had 10 for the Bulls.
Gibson started at center in place of Noah and had eight points and seven rebounds at halftime in his fifth start of the season. Gibson ran into foul trouble in the second half. He picked up his third foul with 6:18 left in the third quarter and his fourth just 9 seconds later.
The Timberwolves went cold in the third quarter, as the Bulls outscored them 19-18 and pulled within five.
Minnesota had one field goal in the final 7:38 of the period – Budinger’s dunk with 34.9 seconds left. The Wolves led 72-65 heading into the fourth.
Minnesota was up 54-46 at halftime after shooting 53.8 percent compared to the Bulls’ 40.9 percent. Love scored 17 points and Turiaf added 11. Butler led the Bulls with 11 on 4-for-7 shooting.
The Timberwolves led by as many as 11 in the first quarter before the Bulls cut it to three by the second period.
The Bulls had won by average of 13.3 points during their seven-game winning streak against the Timberwolves. Minnesota last won in Chicago on Jan. 3, 2009.
NOTES: The Timberwolves ranked second in the NBA in scoring at 106.8 points per game coming in. The Bulls were holding opponents to 92.9 points per game, second in the league. ... It was the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The Bulls lead the all-time series 28-18.