Joakim led the way for the Chicago Bulls with his fourth triple-double of the season (tied with Indiana’s Lance Stephenson for tops in the NBA) for the 87-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Wolves were coming off an impressive win over the West powerhouse San Antonio Spurs on Monday night and they played a good first half in tonight’s game.
Unfortunately they fell apart in the third quarter as the Bulls outscored the Wolves 17-27. That was thanks in large part to Kirk Hinrich, who had a very nice scoring/shooting night—he scored 9 in the quarter and vet Mike Dunleavy added another 8.
The Wolves ultimately didn’t have enough in the tank to mount a comeback (despite being down just 5 points after three quarters) in the fourth.
Ricky Rubio continued his nice recent stretch of aggressive offensive play. He was especially impressive in the first quarter where he scored 9 points also adding a rebound and 4 assists. Rubio finished with 15 points, 1 rebound and 6 assists.
The Wolves had just 10 available players for tonight’s game. Starters Kevin Martin (foot) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle) sat again. Reserves Chase Budinger (ankle) and Shabazz Muhammad (knee) also watched from the bench. But, tonight Minnesota’s J.J. Barea (back/neck) also sat out.
That left the Wolves with Robbie Hummel and Gorgui Dieng drawing starts and a bench of Alexey Shved, Othyus Jeffers, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham & Ronny Turiaf.
Alexey Shved was given backup point guard duties and it was definitely a mixed bag of results. There were some possessions (on both sides of the ball) that he looked completely inept and there were others once he clearly became slightly more comfortable that he showed flashes of what we saw early in his rookie season. He was beat consistently on back door cuts from D.J. Augustin and if it wasn’t that he was instead hung up on a pick for an easy wide open jumper for his matchup.
Minnesota’s best reserve, hands down, was big man Ronny Turiaf. Turiaf always bring energy, hustle and interior defense but tonight he added some offense output for a second unit devoid of any real scoring threats. Turiaf finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 1 monster block on Taj Gibson...which was followed by a monster throwdown on the same Taj Gibson.
We are now officially one week away from the end of the regular season and for a 10th consecutive year, it marks the end of the Minnesota Timberwolves' season. The Wolves have four more games to play, with their next coming on Friday night vs. the Houston Rockets at the Target Center, tipoff is 7pmCST.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!