Timberwolves storm back from 21-point deficit to beat Bulls

CHICAGO--The Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls 99-94 on Tuesday night to make sure coach Tom Thibodeau's return to the United Center was a success.

CHICAGO-The Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat the Chicago Bulls 99-94 on Tuesday night to make sure coach Tom Thibodeau's return to the United Center was a success.

Jimmy Butler tied it 91-91 for the Bulls on a fadeaway jumper with 1:34 left in the fourth quarter, but Minnesota responded with eight straight points scored by Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins.

Butler hit a 3-point with 8.9 seconds left, but it was too late. The Timberwolves (7-18) ended a four-game losing streak for Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls for five seasons before he was fired following the 2014-15 season.

Butler led all scorers with 27 points for the Bulls (13-11). LaVine had 24 points and Wiggins finished with 23 for Minnesota, which had five players finish in double-figure scoring.

Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 16 points and Rubio added 11 points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who trailed by as much as 51-30 with 6:37 left in the second quarter.


Chicago got double figures from Robin Lopez (14 points), Dwyane Wade (12 points) and Taj Gibson (10 points).

After trailing the entire first half, Minnesota pulled even for the first time since the opening tip when LaVine dunked off a turnover to tie it 61-61 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

The Timberwolves continued to surge and took their first lead on LaVine's 3-pointer to put Minnesota up 64-63 with 6:34 left. They led 78-75 starting the fourth.

The Bulls were scorching hot to start the game and built a 26-6 lead before Thibodeau called a timeout with 5:10 left in the first quarter. Chicago hit 11 of 13 shots during that opening run, including 2-of-2 from the 3-point line-both by Jerian Grant.

The Timberwolves were down 38-22 starting the second and couldn't get closer than 14 points until the final 4:14 of the quarter. When they started to heat up, the Bulls went cold and it turned into a 16-1 run for Minnesota to close out the first half.

Dieng scored seven of his 13 first-half points in the run, including a 3-pointer with 10.7 seconds left to cut the Bulls' lead to 56-52 at halftime.

NOTES: Bulls PG Rajon Rondo didn't play because of an ankle injury sustained Monday in practice. "Rajon was having one of his best practices of the year (Monday)," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was all over the place. It was a freak play right at the end of practice. He just landed on it wrong and tweaked it." The Bulls hope Rondo can return Thursday or Friday in one their back-to-back games against the Milwaukee Bucks. ... Reserve G Michael Carter-Williams missed his 21st game because of a left knee bone bruise and left wrist sprain. Hoiberg is hopeful Carter-Williams can return soon. He's scheduled to see a doctor Friday. ...Timberwolves reserve forward Nemanja Bjelica (right ankle) returned to the lineup after missing two games. ... Chicago didn't welcome Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau back with a scoreboard video tribune. Thibodeau coached the Bulls for five seasons.

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