CHICAGO (AP) — Derrick Rose had 21 points and seven assists, leading the Chicago Bulls over the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-82 on Saturday night for their season-best fifth straight victory.
The Bulls (14-8) are six games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2006-07 season with a 49-33 record.
With a favorable schedule coming up, the Bulls have a chance to establish a comfortable lead in the NBA’s Central Division.
Rose, known more for his whirling dervish forays to the basket than his outside stroke, set a career high with five 3-pointers. It was the third time this season he has made four or more 3s. He made that many just once during his first two NBA seasons.
The long-range jumpers made for an efficient night for Rose, who shot 8 for 10 from the field. Luol Deng added 19 points and Carlos Boozer 17 for Chicago, which outrebounded Minnesota 53-36.
The Timberwolves entered the game leading the NBA in rebounds per game. The Bulls ranked third.
Kevin Love had 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead Minnesota. Michael Beasley added 16 points.
The Timberwolves (6-18) were flat-footed on defense for most of the night. Minnesota played at home against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, then flew into Chicago early Saturday morning.
Minnesota opened the second half with a 9-2 run that trimmed the Bulls’ 21-point halftime lead to 14. However, Chicago responded with an 8-0 run of its own, highlighted by Rose’s third 3-pointer of the game.
The Bulls went 5 of 7 from beyond the arc in the third quarter and led by as many as 26 points in the period. Their biggest lead in the game was 33.
Minnesota never got closer than 19 the rest of the way. The Bulls were more aggressive all night, outscoring the Timberwolves 19-6 from the foul line.
Chicago also matched its season high with nine 3s, accomplished three times. Chicago made as many as nine 3s in a game only once last season.
Boozer’s 13 first-half points led a balanced Chicago attack. Rose added 12 points and Deng 11.
Chicago held Minnesota to 35.6 percent shooting during the first two quarters. Chicago led 58-37 at the break.
With the outcome never really in doubt, the crowd at the United Center turned its attention to other matters: free food. Paying customers were to be rewarded with a free Big Mac if the Bulls scored 100 points.
Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer with 4:57 remaining put Chicago over the top and spurred the biggest cheer of the night.
NOTES: Love has had at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in each of Minnesota’s last six games. It’s the longest such streak in the NBA in 21 years. Philadelphia’s Charles Barkley last accomplished the feat in the 1989-90 season.
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