The Chicago Bulls visited the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night, and some signature second-half defense carried them to a 102-87 win, their sixth in a row. Minnesota managed just 34 second-half points.
Joakim Noah recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. D.J. Augustin came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points. Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy combined to score 45 points.
Kevin Love notched a modest double-double on 17 and 10. Ricky Rubio scored 15 and handed out six assists. Minnesota led by five points at halftime but got outscored by 20 over the final 24 minutes.
The T-Wolves fall back to .500 at 39-39, but it hardly matters since they've been eliminated from playoff contention. They while away the rest of the season with the Houston Rockets coming to town on Friday.
Chicago gained ground on the Brooklyn Nets, who lost Wednesday to the Orlando Magic, effectively guaranteeing at least fourth place. The Toronto Raptors won their game, so Chicago stays ties for third with Toronto at 46-32.
The Bulls host the wildly inconsistent Detroit Pistons on Friday, then finish at the New York Knicks, come home for the Orlando Magic and away to the Charlotte Bobcats.