Minnesota 83, Chicago 67

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 30 (AP) -- The shots kept clanging off the rim, one after another.

Dunks, layups, 3-pointers. It didn't matter. Nothing was going in.

In a game where hardly anybody could put the ball in the basket, Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes gave the Minnesota Timberwolves more than enough.

Jefferson had 26 points and 20 rebounds, and Gomes added 25 points and 10 boards to help the Timberwolves to an 83-67 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

The 150 combined points tied for the second fewest in a game this season. Only the Miami Heat's 75-72 victory over New York on Nov. 11 was more inept.

"The whole game was ugly,'' Jefferson said. "A lot of easy shots were missed. We had to turn it around somehow.''

After a horrendous start to the night on offense for both teams, the Wolves closed the third period with an 11-0 run and added a 15-6 spurt in the fourth to avenge a loss to the Bulls on Tuesday night.

Jefferson made 10 of 20 shots and Gomes was 12-for-24, but their teammates were a combined 12-for-49 (24 percent) from the field.

"It wasn't pretty,'' Wolves coach Randy Wittman said. "We'll take an ugly win over a (pretty) defeat any day.''

Kirk Hinrich had 14 points and nine assists for Chicago, but was just 5-for-17 from the field and the Bulls committed 22 turnovers and shot 33.3 percent. Their 67 points were a season low.

"I'm really disappointed in the way we performed in the second half and the way we just, some guys out there just seemed to shut it off,'' Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "That was disappointing to see. Just shut it off.

"Stopped playing with energy. They stopped playing with focus. They went into their own little worlds and were acting kind of childish at times instead of doing what we know we need to do against a team like this. We let the game get away from us.''

The banged-up Bulls are still missing guard Ben Gordon, who was out for the fifth straight game because of a sprained right wrist. Luol Deng hasn't played in more than a week due to an injured left Achilles' tendon and Joe Smith didn't make the trip because of the flu.

Since Gordon has been out, Hinrich has found an offensive rhythm. He scored a career-high 38 in the first game without his backcourt mate and had 27 in a victory over the Wolves on Tuesday, but had nothing going on Wednesday.

"I don't know if (Boylan) meant unprofessional, immature,'' Hinrich said in reference to the "childish'' comment. "It's a big game for us and we just didn't have it. Offensively we were bad, obviously. Second half, things just came pretty easily for them on the other end.''

It was a rare home-and-away, back-to-back series. The two teams played in Chicago on Tuesday night, when the Bulls held the Timberwolves to a season-low 15 points in the first quarter and cruised to a 96-85 victory.

Frigid temperatures and high winds delayed both teams' flights out of the Windy City, and to say they looked ragged at the start of this one would be putting it kindly.

It would be more accurate to say the start of Game 2 set offensive basketball back decades.

The teams started 0-for-18, and the score was 3-2 at the 5:25 mark of the first quarter.

The Wolves scored a season-low eight points in the first quarter, shooting 14 percent (3-for-21) and committing seven turnovers. Sebastian Telfair missed two open layups and Jefferson missed a wide open dunk during their 0-for-9 start.

"It was 2-3 for like four or five minutes,'' said Gomes, who went scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting on Tuesday night. "Somebody had to break stride.''

The Bulls made just two of their first 14 field goals, were 5-for-19 from the field and had five turnovers, including a double-dribble call on Joakim Noah, on their way to 14 points.

"It just wasn't NBA basketball offensively out there tonight,'' Hinrich said.

Notes: Noah got his second straight start in place of Smith. He had 10 points and eight rebounds. ... Timberwolves G Rashad McCants also missed the game with the flu. ... Wolves G Randy Foye played his first home game of the season and got a nice ovation when he entered five minutes into the game. ... The Wolves' eight first-quarter points tied a franchise low for points in a first quarter.


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