Bulls topple Timberwolves 102-87
Bulls 102, Timberwolves 87: Joakim Noah recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists as visiting Chicago won its season-high sixth straight game.
D.J. Augustin led the Bulls' balanced attack with 21 points as they kept pace with Toronto for the race for the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Kirk Hinrich scored 16 points, Mike Dunleavy had 15, Jimmy Butler 14 and Taj Gibson 13 for Chicago.
Kevin Love led the depleted Timberwolves with 17 points and Ricky Rubio added 15. Minnesota played again without center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and guard Kevin Martin (foot) and also missed guard J.J. Barea, who was out with back spasms.
Rubio scored 13 first-half points as Minnesota seized a 53-48 advantage but Chicago set the tone for the second half with the first six points out of the locker room. Dunleavy made three free throws in the closing seconds of the third to make it 75-70 and Augustin capped an 8-2 run with a 3-pointer to open up an 11-point advantage with under eight minutes remaining.
Augustin hit another triple moments later and made a free throw after Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman was assessed a technical foul to push the lead to 93-79 midway through the fourth. Minnesota never threatened again in falling back to .500 for the season.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Noah is tied with Indiana G Lance Stephenson for the NBA lead in triple-doubles. ... Chicago has won five straight in Minnesota. ... The Bulls were 11-of-21 from long range, while the Timberwolves went 4-of-17.