Wolves Fall to Bulls 102-87
Playing in 78 games and on the second night of a back-to-back caught up to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night as they fell to the Chicago Bulls 102-87 at the Target Center.
“I thought we got tired,” said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. “We didn’t have our legs to knock them down and they (the Bulls) were making a lot of shots.”
As if the Wolves weren’t facing enough injury problems, Adelman announced before the game that backup point guard J.J. Barea would miss the game due to a back injury.
Even with only 10 active players, the Wolves were able to stay competitive in the first quarter thanks again to Ricky Rubio’s aggressive start. A night after scoring 23 points, Rubio opened the first quarter with a game-high nine points. Even with that, the Bulls led the Wolves 26-25. Jimmy Butler led Chicago with six points at the end of the quarter.
Wolves vs. Bulls
Rubio continued to lead the Wolves in the second, but the highlights came from Ronny Turiaf. Turiaf had two huge swats on Chicago’s Taj Gibson before throwing down a monster dunk of his own. Turiaf had seven points in the quarter, leading MInnesota to a 53-48 halftime lead. Rubio led all Wolves scorers with 13 points, while Love looked well on his way to a double-double with 12 points and six rebounds.
And that’s when the Wolves hit a wall. Mentally and physically.
The Bulls started the third quarter on a 6-0 run and Minnesota’s lack of depth and energy (second night of a back-to-back) caught up with the Wolves. Chicago came out of the quarter with a 75-70 lead, thanks in part to some hot shooting from Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy. At the end of three, the two had combined for 29 points, going 4-of-7 from the 3-point line.
“I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half,” Adelman said. “But in the second half and third quarter they just kept hitting shots and we couldn’t get one to go in. We ran out of gas in the second half.”
Chicago went on to outscore the Wolves 27-17 in the fourth quarter to come away with a win. If there was a positive from the game aside from the first half, it’s that 10 players hit double-digits in minutes, including Alexey Shved and Othyus Jeffers.
Love led the Wolves with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Rubio added 15 points and six assists. Turiaf led the second unit with 11 points and five rebounds. The Wolves shot 42.5 percent from the field.
D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 21 pints off the bench. Hinrich led all starters with 16 points. Dunleavy and Joakim Noah had 15 points each. Noah also added 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the triple-double. Butler and Gibson had 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Chicago was hot from the 3-point line, shooting 11-of-21 from deep.
Minnesota fell back to .500, sitting at 39-39.
Leader of the Pack: Kevin Love
No player had a particularly great night, but Love, despite shooting 7-of-20, was Minnesota’s most effective player, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a block.
Don’t Blink Highlight of the Night
Rookie Gorgui Dieng had a last-second block on Chicago’s Jimmy Butler. Turning defense into offense? Sure. It resulted in a Ricky Rubio 3-pointer that was assisted by Corey Brewer. It gave the Wolves a 7-6 lead with 7:40 left in the first half. It also was the start of a busy first quarter for Rubio.
The Numbers Game
- With four steals, Brewer has now had four or more steals in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
- Love posted his league-leading 62nd double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
- Noah finished with his fourth triple-double of the season, matching Indiana’s Lance Stephenson for most in the NBA this season.
Wolves vs. Bulls
“We had a very good first half, the second half we didn’t have the energy and they’re a good team, they play great basketball, they move the ball. We were tired at the end and shorthanded… It’s hard.” – Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio on playing shorthanded and on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Wolves stay at home as they host the Houston Rockets on Friday night at 7 p.m. The game will air on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.