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Butler, Bulls fight off Timberwolves

By Tom Musick Sports Xchange CHICAGO -- Forward Jimmy Butler scored 28 points with 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls held on for a 96-89 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Forward Mike Dunleavy added 21 points for Chicago, w...

By Tom Musick

Sports Xchange

CHICAGO - Forward Jimmy Butler scored 28 points with 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls held on for a 96-89 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Forward Mike Dunleavy added 21 points for Chicago, which earned its seventh win in the past nine games. Forward Tony Snell contributed 12 points off the bench for the Bulls (37-22).

Guard Kevin Martin led Minnesota with 18 points. Guard Ricky Rubio added 15 points and 10 assists for the Timber-wolves (13-44).

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The Bulls closed the game on a 12-4 run to erase an 85-84 deficit with 5:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. Chicago improved to 1-1 since losing guard Derrick Rose to a right knee injury.

Minnesota shot 42.9 percent (33 of 77) from the field. The Timberwolves, who rested recently acquired forward Kevin Garnett, were outscored 48-16 in the paint.

A strong finish to the third quarter gave the Bulls a 73-67 lead entering the final 12 minutes. Martin kept his team within range by shooting 4-for-7 in the third quarter, including a pair of jump shots that sparked a 9-1 run to start the second half.

Chicago established a 51-44 lead at halftime after closing the second quarter on a 17-7 run. Timberwolves guard Gary Neal drove to the rim for a layup and a free throw to give Minnesota its first lead at 35-34 with 6:29 remaining in the second quarter, but the Bulls regained the lead on the first of three 3-pointers by Dunleavy in a 2:21 span.

The Bulls led 27-23 at the end of the first quarter. Center Joakim Noah keyed an 11-4 run for Chicago with a pair of perfectly placed alley-oop passes, including one to forward Taj Gibson for a slam dunk and another to Butler for an easy layup.

Gibson injured his left ankle late in the first quarter and did not return.

NOTES: Rose underwent successful surgery Friday morning to remove the damaged part of the meniscus in his right knee, the team announced. Rose is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which would put him on track to return for the final few games of the regular season. โ€ฆ Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett (rest) did not play on the front end of a back-to-back set. Garnett, 38, is expected to play Saturday against Memphis. ... Bulls F Pau Gasol missed the game because of an illness. Gasol, 34, leads the NBA with 37 double-doubles this season. ... Timberwolves F Anthony Bennett missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle. ... Bulls G Aaron Brooks started his second game in a row in Roseโ€™s absence.

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