MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Derrick Rose scored a season-high 31 points and had 11 assists to outlast Ricky Rubio in a thrilling duel, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 111-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Luol Deng had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Kyle Korver scored 13 points off the bench for the Bulls, who appeared to be on their way to a blowout early before Rubio led the Wolves back.
Rubio had 13 points, 12 assists and four rebounds. Luke Ridnour scored 22 points for the Timberwolves, who just couldn’t find an answer for Rose down the stretch.
The reigning MVP shrugged off a mid-game shooting slump to score on an explosion to the basket and then knocked down a little one-handed jumper for an eight-point lead with 2:30 to play.
Kevin Love finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, but his shooting woes continued as he made 5 of 18. Anthony Randolph scored 18 points.
The Bulls outrebounded Minnesota 47-30 and Ronnie Brewer scored 17 points to help them to their eighth win in nine games. But Rose was the leader as usual, hitting 4 of 8 3-pointers.
Rubio’s reputation grew when the Spaniard went up against Rose in international play, stripping him on two of the U.S.’ first three trips up the floor in an exhibition game.
The two went toe-to-toe again on Tuesday night. Rose played 42 minutes and got off to a blistering start with Rubio, who played a career-high 36 minutes, on the bench, but the two electrifying point guards were neck-and-neck for the final three quarters.
The Bulls knew the Wolves were playing their third game in three nights, and they came out throwing haymakers in an attempt to put them away early. Rose scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter and the Bulls hit 20 of their first 29 shots.
The Bulls led by as many as 24 points in the first half and 53-32 with just over 4 minutes to play in the first half when the Timberwolves finally pushed back.
They outscored Chicago 20-2 over the final 5:11 to make it a game. Rubio was magnificent during the surge, assisting or scoring on all but two of the points. He set Love up for three 3-pointers, knocked down a jumper and a free throw and threw a one-handed lob to Randolph that sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy.
In the first nine games, Rubio came off the bench at the start of the game and third quarter. But this time Rick Adelman started the crew that finished the second quarter – Rubio, Love, Randolph, Anthony Tolliver and Ridnour – to start the second half.
Rubio kept dishing, setting up Randolph for a bank shot and Ridnour for a 3-pointer to tie the game at 70 with 3:45 to play in the third quarter.
Rose hit seven of his first eight shots, but had a heck of a time after that start. He missed five straight shots and scored just three points in the second and third quarters as the Wolves crept back in it.
NOTES: Bulls G Rip Hamilton did not play because of a sore left groin that has kept him out of five of the last six games. C.J. Watson was out with a sprained left elbow. … Wolves F Michael Beasley was in a walking boot before the game and said it is uncertain when he will return. He said he still feels some pain when walks, primarily when he is on his tip toes. … Korver went 3 for 3 from 3-point range and has now hit 13 of his last 20 from distance.
Updated January 10, 2012
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