Towns’ 35 points, 22 boards lead Wolves over Bulls, 111-96
Minnesota rebounded, defended and got a boost from its reserves.
Dario Saric added 19 points and 14 rebounds in a reserve role for Minnesota, which won for the fifth time in seven games since trading Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia. Both the Timberwolves and Bulls were playing the second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights in a listless, sloppy affair.
“We want to make the right plays, play to each other’s strengths, cover up each other’s weaknesses and play tough,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. “On the nights in which you don’t shoot well, hopefully your rebounding and your defense can carry you through.”
The Wolves held a 58-40 rebounding edge and had 21 offensive rebounds, leading to 29 second-chance points.
“They got every rebound tonight and we turned it over,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They take 103 shots to our 80, it’s hard to win when that happens.”
Zach LaVine scored 28 points and Jabari Parker had 27, keeping their streak of 20-point games intact. Both players have reached 20 points in the past three games, but Chicago lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Justin Holiday had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls.
Neither team led by more than six points until Minnesota slowly started to pull away in the fourth. Towns scored eight points as the Wolves started the period on a 12-2 run. Chicago had five turnovers in the fourth and shot just 4 of 16.
“We have a stretch and we do some things out there that just, I know you guys see it, it makes you turn your head like, ‘What the hell are we doing?'” LaVine said. “So, you know, I wish we didn’t do that.”
Minnesota started the game 3-of-12 shooting. Towns picked up the Wolves with 22 points in the second half.
“He was terrific in so many different ways,” Thibodeau said. “He mixed it up. The post was terrific. Playmaking was terrific. All-around game, the rebounding again. He’s on a roll rebounding-wise. We played through him and we got a lot of good stuff off of that.”
Bulls: Rookie F Chandler Hutchinson was a game-time decision with back spasms. Hutchinson was active but didn’t play for the third straight game. … Hoiberg said Lauri Markkanen had a 2-on-2 workout involving some “controlled contact” as he tries to return from an elbow injury that has caused him to miss the entire season. Hoiberg said it is just the elbow that’s bothering Markkanen and that the forward has kept up with conditioning. … Holiday was 4 of 13 from 3-point territory, marking his 31st straight game with a made 3. He tied Kirk Hinrich for the longest streak in team history.
Timberwolves: Towns had his third career game with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds. He secured a double-double in each half, a feat he’s accomplished 42 times in his career. It’s his 10th double-double in 20 games this season. He also tied a season-high with six assists … Rose reached 20 points for the seventh time in the past nine games. Saric, who came over from Philadelphia in the Butler trade, hit double-figures in scoring for the third time in six games for Minnesota.
Wiggins was scoreless on 0-for-12 shooting. Covington was 0 for 11 in the first half and finished 1 of 18 with four points.
The 58 rebounds and 21 offensive rebounds were both season highs for the Wolves. The plus-18 rebounding margin was also the team’s best output this season.
Towns and Saric each had nine offensive rebounds, the first time the Wolves have had two players with at least eight offensive rebounds in the same game. It’s the first time since 2003 (Jermaine O’Neill and Al Harrington for Indiana) when a pair of teammates each had at least nine offensive rebounds in the same game.
Bulls: Return home against San Antonio on Monday.
Timberwolves: Play at Cleveland on Monday.