The Wolves defeated the Chicago Bulls Monday night in Chicago at the Mad House on Madison, 95-86, to finish their four game road trip with three wins and a loss. Nikola Pekovic played just six minutes before sitting with a strained right achilles tendon. The Star Tribune reports Pek will see a doctor on Tuesday to see just how severe the injury is.
In Pek’s stead, Rony Turiaf scored a season-high 14 points and 32 minutes. Chase Budinger also came up big, scoring 12 points and (more importantly) hitting 5-7 shots as he continued to work back into game shape after multiple knee issues (which began the last time the Wolves played in Chicago, come to think of it). Kevin Love carried the weight with 31 points on 8-17 shooting — getting to the line to shoot a perfect fourteen of fourteen and getting both Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer in foul trouble.
Ugly doesn’t do Chicago Bulls basketball justice — the Bulls are a depleted squad that plays a brutal style regardless. Joakim Noah sat out the game due to illness. Of course, Derrick Rose is out and Luol Deng is gone. The back up to Rose’s backup, D.J. Augustin to Kirk Hinrich, played 39 minutes.
Things are tough in the Windy City, but so are the Bulls. The Wolves looked ripe for a disappointing loss, as the Pek-less offense struggled to find a rhythm. The Bulls committed 25 fouls and the Wolves offense slowed to a crawl — only Love attempted more than Kevin Martin’s 9 shots. The Wolves limited their turnovers, 14 to the Bulls’ 13 and shot 85% from the free throw line and gutted out a tough win to close out their road trip.
With the Wolves prevailing in Chicago, they can count their close win in Golden State and their blowout of Utah as a successful road trip. The New Orleans Pelicans (18-25) await the Wolves Wednesday at Target Center, where the Wolves play their next two games.