Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/3

Game 1: Saturday, January 3rd
Game 2: Sunday, January 25th

Timberwolves 102

(8-25, 4-13 away)

Bulls 92

(14-20, 10-5 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    8:30 PM ET, January 3, 2009

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 18 27 27 30102
    CHI 17 21 27 2792

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: A. Jefferson 18 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Chicago: T. Thomas 15 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 8 Blk

    Foye, Jefferson help Timberwolves to first win streak of season

    Associated Press

    CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Timberwolves celebrated their first winning streak of the season -- at the Chicago Bulls' expense.

    Fast Facts

    • Minnesota has won two straight and four of its last six games following a season-long 13-game losing streak.

    • The Timberwolves improved to 15-4 in their last 19 games vs. the Bulls.

    • Chicago has lost three straight and seven of its last nine.

    -- ESPN research

    Randy Foye scored 21 points, Al Jefferson added 18 points and 14 rebounds and the Minnesota won consecutive games for the first time this season, beating Chicago 102-92 on Saturday night.

    "It took us to wait until we got to the New Year to get it," Jefferson said. "Hopefully, we'll keep this thing going."

    Trailing 73-72, Minnesota didn't score its first points in the fourth quarter until Foye made two free throws 4:06 in. Minnesota's first field goal didn't come until Jefferson made a jumper with 6:35 left to give the Wolves a 76-75 lead. Minnesota never trailed again and made it 79-75 on Foye's 3-point play with 6:03 left.

    "The guys have to learn how to win a little bit," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "You get a group of young guys and you'll see some interesting stuff happen."

    Derrick Rose pulled the Bulls to 85-84 with 2:33 left, but the Wolves answered with Sebastian Telfair's jumper and Ryan Gomes' 3 with 2:02 left to make it 90-84.

    Rose finished with 22 points, and Tyrus Thomas had 15 points, seven rebounds and eight blocked shots for Chicago, which has lost six of its last seven games.

    Gomes finished with 19 points for Minnesota, which has won four of its last six games. The Wolves had 28 second-chance points to the Bulls' eight.

    The Bulls have been without Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Drew Gooden because of injuries, but Andres Nocioni wasn't using that as an excuse after the game.

    "I don't think it's because of the some people that are out," Nocioni said. "I think it's because we are not playing well, we're not playing enough [defense] to win, we're not stopping the people in the last 5 minutes when we need to stop people, so I think we need to quit with the excuses."

    The Wolves led by 10 in the third quarter, but relinquished the lead during a 10-0 Chicago run that got started on Ben Gordon's jumper with 6 seconds left in the third quarter. After Lindsey Hunter's layup in the fourth quarter, Nocioni hit back-to-back 3s to give Chicago a 73-72 lead early in the fourth quarter.

    The Bulls, who were not competitive in their last two blowout losses to Orlando and Cleveland, got down early again. Rodney Carney had a dunk and a layup to put the Wolves up 32-19 midway through the second quarter.

    "We've got a lot of work to do," Hunter said. "We've got a lot of growing up to do. No matter how shorthanded you are you have to look to the integral things that you need to do to win. It's an accumulation of things. You miss a rotation or things like that and it just accumulates."

    Both teams were dismal at the start. The teams combined to miss their first 14 field-goal attempts. The Wolves lost starting point guard Kevin Ollie to a left dislocated elbow. He was injured by Gray coming down from a layup attempt early in the first quarter.

    The Wolves led 45-38 at the half. Kevin Love had 13 points and seven rebounds. The Bulls shot just 34.1 percent in the half. He finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

    "I felt confident. Had a couple of plays ran for me, executed and I put the ball in the hole and I'm always going to try and get every rebound," said Love.

    The only bright spot for the Bulls was Thomas, who had nine points, five blocked shots and three rebounds.

    Game notes

    Nocioni and Joakim Noah had an on-court spat during a blowout loss at Cleveland on Friday night. Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro apparently didn't have a problem with it. "I like when guys get on each other and show some intensity and show some will to win and kind of get after it a little bit. I like that," Del Negro said. ... Gooden missed his 10th game of the season with a right ankle sprain. He will have an MRI on Monday. ... Deng missed his fifth game because of a sprained left ankle. He's listed as day-to-day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 92
    FGM-FGA 37-89 (.416) 35-89 (.393)
    3PM-3PA 5-18 (.278) 8-22 (.364)
    FTM-FTA 23-27 (.852) 14-19 (.737)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-51 11-41
    Assists 16 24
    Turnovers 17 13
    Steals 6 3
    Blocks 5 14
    Fast Break Points 6 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 13 2

    Top Performers

    Al Jefferson Jefferson
    Points: 18
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Tyrus Thomas Thomas
    Points: 15
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 8