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Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves get by Bulls in overtime

By
Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange
Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol (16). Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol (16). Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins had a hunch that he would have a big game against the Chicago Bulls.

"Even in pregame shooting, I felt like I was in rhythm," Wiggins said. "I went hard."

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Wiggins' instincts were right on target as he scored a season-high 31 points and the Timberwolves outlasted the Bulls for a 102-93 overtime win on Saturday night.

Rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to post his third double-double in five games. Forward Nemanja Bjelica added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Minnesota (3-2).

After a back-and-forth game that featured 15 ties and 18 lead changes, Minnesota outscored Chicago 9-0 in overtime. The Bulls shot 0-for-9 during the extra session, including 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. Chicago was held scoreless in overtime for the first time in the 50-year history of the franchise.

Center Pau Gasol said the Bulls needed to play with more intensity in the final five minutes. Gasol led Chicago with 21 points and 14 rebounds, marking his third double-double of the season.

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"I do not remember an overtime where a team didn't score," Gasol said. "We have to give them credit. They just played well, they went after it, and they wanted it more than we did."

Minnesota coach Sam Mitchell said the hard-fought victory marked another step forward in his team's maturation process. He credited the team's defensive effort as the Timberwolves outrebounded the Bulls 58-50 and limited Chicago to 35.5 percent shooting (33 of 93).

"I thought it was unbelievable," Mitchell said. "Our rebounding has concerned us all year, and today (we had) offensive rebound after offensive rebound. Playing the Bulls is a load, and I'm proud of our young team."

In the Bulls' locker room, guard Derrick Rose said the loss was perplexing. Chicago (4-3) has knocked off high-profile teams such as Cleveland and Oklahoma City this season, but they have fallen short against Detroit, Charlotte and Minnesota.

"It's all about effort," Rose said. "We'll get tired of getting our (butt) whooped one day. It's all about bringing out that championship caliber effort every night. We've got to stay more consistent. We have to stay together while we're out there."

Minnesota snapped a two-game losing streak and won despite a poor offensive performance from guard Ricky Rubio, who managed only seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

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Rose tallied 11 points on 3-for-13 shooting. Guard Jimmy Butler also struggled, finishing with 11 points while shooting 0-for-7 from beyond the arc.

The score was tied at 93 at the end of regulation.

Chicago built an 89-83 lead on a 3-pointer by forward Tony Snell with 6:34 to go in the fourth quarter. Minnesota rallied with a 10-2 run to grab a 93-91 lead with 27.3 seconds remaining. Gasol answered with a tip-in to even the score with 21.5 seconds left and Wiggins fired an air ball on a last-second 3-pointer, prompting overtime.

Wiggins said he quickly erased the memory of his airball.

"When the buzzer goes, you've got five more minutes," Wiggins said with a smile. "You can't be thinking about that shot."

Chicago held a 77-76 edge entering the fourth quarter. Rose opened the fourth with a 3-pointer from the left corner on a dish by Butler.

Minnesota led 58-57 at halftime behind 22 points from Wiggins.

Towns made a layup to cap a 19-4 run that gave the Timberwolves a 54-45 lead. Chicago sliced the deficit to one with a 12-4 run that included six points from Gasol.

Wiggins hit a trio of 3-pointers to help the Timberwolves grab a 30-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bulls trailed by as many as seven points before responding with a 9-0 run.

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The Timberwolves had dropped 10 of their previous 11 games against the Bulls before Saturday's win.

"This is a great win on the road with a young team," Minnesota forward Tayshaun Prince said. "Hopefully, it's a confidence booster as we continue to move forward."

NOTES: Timberwolves G Kevin Martin missed the game because of personal reasons. ... Bulls G Kirk Hinrich (toe) missed his fourth straight game. ... Timberwolves G Tyus Jones was active for the first time this season but did not play. Jones, 19, was the No. 24 pick out of Duke in the 2015 NBA draft. ... Bulls F Doug McDermott started his second consecutive game in place of F Tony Snell, who came in off the bench. ... Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell said he was not concerned by a lack of scoring from 39-year-old F Kevin Garnett. "K.G. is doing everything that we've asked him to do," Mitchell said. "At a certain point, Father Time gets us all. He can still defend, rebound the basketball and talk on defense."

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