MINNEAPOLIS – Jeff Teague scored 25 points, Andrew Wiggins added 23, and the Minnesota Timberwolves – playing their first game since All-Star Jimmy Butler was injured – beat the Bulls, 122-104, on Saturday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points and 13 rebounds for his 53rd double-double of the season. Jamal Crawford scored 19 off the bench for the Timberwolves, including three 3-pointers that keyed a 16-2 spurt to open the fourth quarter and put them comfortably ahead for good.
Zach LaVine scored 21 to lead the Bulls in his return to Target Center since the blockbuster offseason trade that sent Butler to Minnesota.
Even with Butler sidelined indefinitely by an injured meniscus in his right knee, the Wolves had little trouble on offense without their leading scorer. They certainly missed him on defense, however.
The Bulls trailed by as many as 12 early, but LaVine hit some timely buckets and the Bulls’ bench outscored Minnesota’s reserves, 24-7, in the first half. The Bulls looked to be in prime position to sweep the season series after a one-point win Feb. 9 at the United Center.
The Bulls led by five in the third quarter before Minnesota used an 18-11 run to regain the lead heading into the fourth.
Bulls: Former Wolves draft pick Kris Dunn had 10 points in his return to Minnesota. ... Forward Paul Zipser sat out with a left foot injury suffered Thursday against Philadelphia. He left that game after only seven minutes and didn’t practice Friday. ... Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday were inactive again in favor of getting more time for younger players. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he does expect to get the two veterans back into the mix. “They’re still active in practice, and right now the big thing for us is getting a look at some of the younger guys that haven’t gotten a lot of minutes,” Hoiberg said.
Timberwolves: Teague has scored at least 15 points in four straight games. ... Towns didn’t have a field goal or rebound in the first quarter. ... The Wolves announced their 11th sellout of the season. ... Minnesota wrapped up the 11th of 15 back-to-back sets this season.
Bulls: Visit the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
Timberwolves: At the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.