Bulls dispatch Orlando in Regular Season Home finale.

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There’s just one game remaining in the regular season and the NBA playoffs begin on Saturday.The Bulls still don’t know their first-round opponent, but that’s fine with Joakim Noah.

”Whatever happens, happens,” Noah said after the Bulls’ 108-95 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday. ”Our mentality is just getting ready for the next game, getting ready for Charlotte. We’re going to focus on out next opponent and everything will take care of itself.”

Noah had 18 points and 10 rebounds and eight assists, Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points and the Bulls pulled away late.With one game left in the regular season, the Bulls are fourth in the Eastern Conference playoff race and looking at a first-round matchup with Brooklyn. To catch Toronto and finish third, the Bulls would need to win the season finale at Charlotte on Wednesday and have the Raptors lose at New York.

”The important thing is for us to continue to strive for improvement [and] finish the season as strong as we can and go from there,” Thibodeau said.

Kyle O’Quinn led Orlando with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and Andrew Nicholson added 19. Rookie Victor Oladipo was limited to 10 points after scoring a career-high 35 points against the Bulls earlier in the season.Jimmer Fredette had 17 points.With guard D.J. Augustin missing the game to attend the birth of a child, the Bulls’ rotation was a bit off in the first half.Fredette was the first player off the bench and he showed the rust of not playing much since being picked up at the beginning of March.The Bulls led throughout the first half, often by double figures, but the Magic hung around and pulled within 67-64 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.Dunleavy, though, hit a 3-pointer to stop Orlando’s momentum. Soon after, Fredette capped the third-quarter scoring with a pair of free throws to make it 81-70 heading into the fourth.The Bulls quickly thwarted any hopes of a Magic comeback by opening the final quarter with a 13-7 to make it 94-77 with about seven minutes to go.Fredette had nine points on 4-for-6 shooting in the fourth.

”I didn’t know until I got here,” Fredette said of his increased playing time. ”I was able to step in and help the team get a win.”

With a win in the season finale, the Bulls would get to 49 victories, a feat few thought possible following the injury to Derrick Rose and trade of Luol Deng earlier in the season.

”It feels great to be in this position right now, but we’re definitely not satisfied,” Noah said. ”We want more, we feel like we can do more. It’s a group that’s gone through so much adversity, to be in this position is definitely a blessing. But we’re not satisfied.”

NOTES—The Bulls completed their recent roster shake-up on Monday by signing C Greg Smith and waiving F Toko Shengelia. ”We’re excited that he is with us,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of Smith. ”When he was healthy, he played very well. We feel we’re fortunate to be able to pick him up.” Smith had arthroscopic knee surgery in February and is still rehabbing. He averaged 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 89 games for the Houston Rockets. Shengelia was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season for Marquis Teague. Last week, the Bulls signed Ronnie Brewer, Mike James and Lou Amundson to bring their roster to the maximum 15.. Orlando G Jameer Nelson missed his second straight game with a strained left groin. … The Magic finished the year with a 4-37 road record, including 11 straight losses to end the season.

Blackhawks vs Blues in first round starting Thursday in St.Louis.

The Blackhawks will launch the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the team’s sixth consecutive appearance in the postseason, when they face the St. Louis Blues in the best-of-seven First Round series beginning with Game 1 at the Scottrade Center on Thursday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. and Game 2 on Saturday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m.
Games 3 and 4 will be held at the United Center on Monday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, April 23 at 8:30 p.m. If necessary, the Blues will host Game 5 on Friday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m., the Blackhawks will host Game 6 on Sunday, April 27 at 2 p.m. and the Blues will host Game 7 on Tuesday, April 29 (time TBD). All times listed are Central.
The Blackhawks finished the 2013-14 regular season with a 46-21-15 record (107 points) and earned the third seed in the NHL’s Central Division. For the first time since 1992-97, Chicago has reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for six consecutive seasons.
The Hawks posted a 2-1-2 record against St. Louis during the regular season, including wins in each of the last two meetings between the clubs. This marks the 10th Stanley Cup Playoff matchup between the Hawks and St. Louis, and the first since the 2002 Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Below is a complete game schedule of the Blackhawks First Round series. Game 2 and Game 6 will be televised nationally by NBC, while Game 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 will air locally on CSN Chicago. The First Round can be heard on WGN AM-720 (Game 1 and 4) and 87.7 FM The Game (Game 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7). All seven contests are available on WGNRadio.com and the WGN Mobile App. The Blackhawks Media Relations Department will release updated practice information each day throughout the series.

Game    Date    Time (CT)    Venue    Local TV
Game 1    Thurs., April 17    7:00 p.m.    Scottrade Center    CSN Chicago
Game 2    Sat., April 19    2:00 p.m.    Scottrade Center    NBC
Game 3    Mon., April 21    7:30 p.m.    United Center    CSN Chicago
Game 4    Wed., April 23    8:30 p.m.    United Center    CSN Chicago
Game 5*    Fri., April 25    7:00 p.m.    Scottrade Center    CSN Chicago
Game 6*    Sun., April 27    2:00 p.m.    United Center    NBC
Game 7*     Tues., April 29    TBD    Scottrade Center    CSN Chicago
Home games in bold. Games 5, 6 and 7 are if necessary.

Bulls lose to Knicks, fall from #3 seed with two games left.

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NEW YORK—Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points and the New York Knicks, a night after being eliminated from playoff contention, beat the Bulls 100-89 on Sunday.No longer with any hopes of their own, the Knicks snapped the Bulls’ seven-game winning streak and dropped them back into a tie with Toronto for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with two to play.Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith each had 17 points for the Knicks, who were eliminated Saturday when Atlanta beat Miami, ending New York’s run of three straight postseason berths.A 54-division champion last season, they believed they were built to play deep into the spring, so confident in what they had that Amare Stoudemire said the expectations should have been even higher.

“On paper, we might be the best team in the league,” he said before the game. “We’ve got great players on this team who’ve accomplished so much. We just couldn’t put it together.”

Joakim Noah had 13 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler scored 17 points, but the Bulls was just 6 of 22 (27 percent) from 3-point range.The Knicks led 45-39 at halftime, then Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers and Raymond Felton made one for a 9-0 spurt that opened a 60-46 advantage, and the lead reached 67-50 when Anthony nailed a 3.The Bulls were was down 17 again with 7 minutes to play before finally making a push, cutting it to 93-87 when Taj Gibson’s three-point play capped a 15-4 run. But they repeatedly misfired from the perimeter, preventing them from getting any closer.The Knicks have played well in March and April, beating Toronto on Friday, but it’s too late after they had already fallen to 21-40.

“Being the coach, I just apologize to the fans, because again, they pay their hard-earned money to come out and see us play and we didn’t come into this season expecting this,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Whatever expectations the Bulls had were gone after Derrick Rose was lost to season-ending knee surgery in late November and Luol Deng was traded on Jan. 7. But the Bulls has not only regrouped but flourished, bringing an Eastern Conference-best 35-14 mark in 2014 into Sunday’s play.But they will need help now — perhaps from the Knicks, who host Toronto in Wednesday’s finale — to get the No. 3 spot, since the Raptors would get the tiebreaker as a division champion. The Bulls close against Orlando on Monday and at Charlotte on Wednesday.

NOTES—The game was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start and be shown nationally on ABC, but was booted shortly after the Bulls’ 109-90 rout of the Knicks in the United Center on March 2. The Indiana-Oklahoma City game was shifted to that marquee spot. …The Bulls were trying for its first eight-game winning streak since Feb. 20-March 7, 2012.

Hawks end Regular Season with 7-5 loss to Preds, using makeshift roster

NASHVILLE—The Blackhawks certainly draw plenty of their own fans with them when playing in Nashville.Simply playing the defending Stanley Cup champs definitely brings out the best in the Predators this season.Patric Hornqvist scored the go-ahead goal with 58.2 seconds left and Shea Weber added an empty-netter as the Nashville Predators rallied with five goals in the third period to beat the Blackhawks 7-5 Saturday night in their home finale.The teams combined to score seven goals in a wild and furious final period. The Hawks were up 3-2 going into the third, and Nashville finally put the Blackhawks away with the two goals inside the final minute. Nashville, which also scored seven goals while beating the Hawks earlier this season, took the season series 4-1 before an arena about half full of Blackhawks fans.

“I felt that gave us some motivation to let them come and then go home sad,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of the latest win. “That was my goal.”

Hornqvist also had an assist. Craig Smith had a goal and an assist. Paul Gaustad, Ryan Ellis, Matt Cullen and Colin Wilson also scored a goal apiece as 12 of 18 Nashville skaters got at least a point.Ben Smith, Marian Hossa, Matt Carey, Jeremy Morin and Andrew Shaw each scored a goal for the Blackhawks, who finished the season third in the Central Division. The Blackhawks now must wait to see if they are playing either Colorado or St. Louis when the playoffs start. Both teams play Sunday.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Hossa said. “It’ll come down to the last game to decide who we’re going to play.”

The Predators were eliminated from the postseason for a second straight year with a shootout loss Tuesday night at Dallas, but they now are 8-1-2 over their last 11 games. They certainly didn’t quit when they had the chance down 2-0 in the first period or trailing going into the third.

“It’s obviously a good sign,” Weber said. “There’s no quit in this locker room. A lot of character. We knew guys weren’t going to quit. It’s tough to be out of the postseason, but there is still a lot to play for.”

Nashville scored the first two goals of the third as Cullen scored off a rebound at 4:03 followed by Wilson scoring off a rebound of Weber’s shot at 7:05. That gave Nashville its first lead of the night at 4-3.It didn’t last long as Morin scored 55 seconds later with a helping hand from Nashville defenseman Roman Josi who was trying to poke it away from the post only to knock it over the line tying it up at 4.Gaustad put Nashville up 5-4 with 2:55 left only to see Shaw tie it up yet again with a slap shot with 1:35 remaining.Hornqvist put Nashville ahead to stay when he tipped in a shot by Wilson. With goalie Antti Raanta pulled, Weber sealed the win with his 22nd goal this season.

“Obviously, there are four months until the next home game, but I think it was great for our fans to see what we are all about,” Hornqvist said. “When we are playing good, we can beat any team in the league and obviously it will give us some confidence for next year too.”

The Blackhawks’ faithful did their best to turn this game into a near home game with so much red sitting in the stands, taking advantage of the short flight from Chicago. They turned out even though the Hawks were already locked into third in the Central Division, and coach Joel Quenneville scratched defenseman Duncan Keith for a second straight game. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews remained out with injuries waiting for the playoffs.Hossa did not play after the first period after getting his 30th goal this season, which Quenneville discussed with him Saturday morning.

“It was a perfect ending for him,” Quenneville said. “He had a nice year for us.”

NOTES—Nashville finished the season with four straight home wins. … Hornqvist now has a career-high 52 points this season, and the Swede has 17 points in his last 10 games. That’s the most of any NHL player since March 21. … Carey’s goal was the first of his career in his second NHL game. … Cullen’s goal was his 600th career NHL point. … The Blackhawks finish the season 12-3-3 in the second game of back-to-back series, they scored five or more goals in an NHL-best 25 games.

Bulls come from 18 down to beat Pistons, take third place in East(for now)

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D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, Taj Gibson added 17, and the Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-98 for their seventh straight win on Friday night.Carlos Boozer finished with 18 points. Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored all of his 14 in the second half, and the Bulls kept their longest win streak of the season going.They moved a game ahead of Atlantic Division leader Toronto for third in the Eastern Conference, with the Raptors losing to the New York Knicks. The Bulls also clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with Brooklyn falling to Atlanta.They trailed by 56-38 at the half after getting dominated inside by Andre Drummond but turned things around in a big way after that.The Bulls outscored Detroit 32-24 in the third quarter to pull within 10 and went on a 15-0 run in the fourth to turn an eight-point deficit into a 90-83 edge. The Bulls then hung on in the closing minutes for their 35th win since Jan. 1 – tops in the Eastern Conference.They pulled this one out even though they got dominated by Drummond, who scored 26 and tied a career-high with 26 rebounds.Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points and Brandon Jennings added 17 but the Pistons lost for the 18th time in 20 road games.Detroit was leading 83-75 with just over 10 minutes left in the game when Gibson, who scored 11 in the fourth quarter, hit two free throws to start the decisive rally.Augustin then nailed back-to-back jumpers to make it a two-point game, and after committing a charge, he tied it at 83 when he hit two free throws with 8:10 left.Jimmy Butler then put the Bulls ahead with a layup after Jonas Jerebko missed a 3 for Detroit. The Bulls continued to add to it.A three-point play by Gibson, who landed near the photographers along the baseline, and two more free throws by Augustin put the Bulls up 90-83 with 6:14 remaining.Peyton Siva answered with a 3 for Detroit, but the Bulls stayed in control after that.Joakim Noah had six points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, giving him 408 on the season and putting him in some elite company. He became the ninth player in NBA history – and third with the Bulls – with at least 400 assists and 100 blocks in a season, joining Kevin Garnett (six times), Sam Lacey (three times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Alex English, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Alvan Adams and Dwyane Wade.

NOTES—The Bulls finish out the regular season with games at New York on Sunday, at home against Orlando on Monday and at Charlotte on Wednesday. ..Tom Thibodeau on the Bulls signing Mike James, Lou Amundson and Ronnie Brewer, who had played for them in the past: ”It gives you more depth for practice, energy, insurance if you take on an injury. And the fact that they’ve been here before, we think is a plus.” … Pistons F Josh Smith missed his third straight game because of tendinitis in his left knee.

With little at stake, Hawks turn in capital stinker in DC

WASHINGTON—The playoff-bound Blackhawks were coasting, and the out-of-it Washington Capitals were trying to act like a team that still had heart.The result was a late-season game with a preseason feel, noteworthy for Alex Ovechkin’s NHL-leading 51st goal and a shutout from the goalie who was seemingly skittish about facing his former team earlier in the week.Ovechkin and the Capitals beat the Blackhawks 4-0 on Friday night, an impressive-looking result that didn’t mean much. Washington still isn’t going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and the Hawks are locked into finishing third in the Central Division.

“They’re getting prepared for the playoffs and resting up a bit,” Capitals forward Eric Fehr said, “so you don’t want to take too much out of a game like that.”

Jay Beagle had his first career two-goal game, and Nicklas Backstrom also scored as the Capitals won their fourth straight, a winning streak that’s rings hollow in D.C.Ovechkin’s first-period goal — a one-timer from the back edge of the left circle — was his 24th on the power play, a Capitals franchise record and the most in the NHL since Steven Stamkos had 24 in the 2009-10 season. Ovechkin’s power-play output underscores his lack of scoring at even strength over the final six weeks of the season, as well as his minus-35 rating that is among the worst in the league.

“It’s pretty hard to be mentally ready for that kind of game. … But soon it’s going to be, like, five months, play golf and do some stuff,” Ovechkin said. “You’re probably going to miss hockey, so that’s why you give everything and enjoy your moment.”

Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves in his first shutout since the trade deadline deal that brought him to Washington from the St. Louis Blues. It was also his first game since a bizarre episode on Tuesday, when he didn’t play against the Blues because, according to Washington coach Adam Oates, the goalie wasn’t “100 percent comfortable” with the prospect of facing his former team for the first time.Meanwhile, about the only thing that can be said about the Blackhawks is that they actually participated in the game, and that’s probably a stretch.

“We’ll throw it in the garbage can,” Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll learn a little bit from it, but certainly we’re not happy about the way things played out. But it was one of those games.”

Quenneville, who had planned to rest some players over the final two games, gave defenseman Duncan Keith the night off and subbed goalie Corey Crawford after two periods. Still, forward Patrick Sharp was looking for a bit more effort.

“It’s the NHL. We’re professionals,” Sharp said. “We should be ready to go.”
The Hawks had their four-game winning streak snapped. The defending Stanley Cup champions have a potential concern as they prepare for a run at another title: They have lost eight of 10 on the road, scoring only 15 goals in those games.

“It’s just a game we can definitely look past and move on to the next one,” Crawford said. “I don’t know, let’s just forget about it. I don’t know what else to day.”

Jim Molinari leaves Western Illinois after 6 seasons.

MACOMB—After several days of rumors, the news became official on Thursday night: Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari is resigning.

“Having known Coach Molinari for more than 20 years and watched his incredible basketball career and accomplishments he had at Western Illinois University, we wish him continued success and the best of luck,” athletic director Tommy Bell said in a statement. “We thank him for his service to our institution. He will be missed.”

Molinari is rumored to be under serious consideration for an assistant coach spot on Tim Miles’ staff at Nebraska.Associate head coach Wade Hokenson will serve as acting head coach at Western Illinois.Molinari was at Western Illinois for six seasons, finishing with a 79-104 record. The Leathernecks went 10-20 this past season.

Hossa, Sharp goals help Hawks to (finally) win in OT 3-2 over Habs

Patrick Sharp stepped up late to make sure the Blackhawks got a win in their last regular-season home game.Sharp set up Marian Hossa’s tying goal in the final minute of regulation and then got the game-winner 43 seconds into overtime to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.Jeremy Morin also scored in the Blackhawks’ fourth straight win overall, and their first in overtime this season after seven losses despite leading in the NHL in goal scoring.

“I think we were due,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re a pretty good club offensively, but to take this long to get one. … It’s certainly a relief, and a huge two points for us and a nice comeback as well.”

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks may need some of that late magic when the playoffs start next week.

“It’s not the type of overtime you see in the playoffs,” Quenneville said, “but going forward, it gets the monkey off our back.”

Sharp scored the winner — and his team-leading 34th goal — on a shot from the slot that struck Montreal goalie Peter Budaj, rolled high off his equipment, ticked off the left post and landed in the net.

“It was at the end of a shift,” Sharp said. “I let go of the shot. Makes up for the ones that hit the post.”

Hossa had tipped in Sharp’s feed from the right corner left to tie the game at 2 with 47.7 seconds left in the third period.

“Michel Handzus made a great pass to me and I just wanted to get it toward the net,” Sharp said. “I saw Hoss’ stick and he put it in.”

The Blackhawks put on a strong, wild finish to win a cautiously played game between Original Six rivals with depleted lineups.

“I don’t think we were especially happy with the way we played the first couple periods, but picked it up there towards the end,” Duncan Keith said. “Their goalie made some big saves, too.”

Corey Crawford finished with 28 saves for the Blackhawks.Dale Weise and Francis Bouillon scored for Montreal, which snapped a two-game win streak and lost for just the third time in its last 13 games. Budaj had 25 saves.The Canadiens were without starting goalie Carey Price and defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, who didn’t make the trip to Chicago so they could rest for the playoffs. Montreal will face Tampa Bay in the opening round, with home ice to be determines.The Blackhawks played their fourth game without star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Both are expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, but return for the playoffs.Earlier on Wednesday, Kane said he will be at 100 percent for the postseason despite a brace on his injured left knee.Kane, who was leading the Hawks in scoring when he was hurt in a game against St. Louis on March 19, resumed skating on his own five days ago. On Wednesday, he skated with his teammates for the first time in the hours before the game against Montreal.Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk played only two shifts in the first period before suffering a lower-body injury and did not return.The Canadiens won the other game this season between the teams on Jan. 11 in Montreal.All the scoring came after the second period.Weise, who had sat out the last six games with an upper body injury, got the Canadiens on the scoreboard first, completing a 3-on-2 break after taking a feed from Josh Gorges at 7:31 of the third. Gorges was playing for the first time since March 5 after undergoing surgery on his left hand.Morin tied at 10:34 on a low shot from the right circle that slipped between Budaj’s pads.Bouillon put the Canadiens back ahead just 22 seconds later, as his high screened shot from the point slipped past Crawford’s shoulder.

NOTES—Canadiens D Mike Weaver played his 600th NHL game. …Brandon Saad returned after sitting out one game per Quenneville’s choice. … Healthy scratches were D Michal Handzus and D David Rundblad and C Peter Regin, LW Teuvo Teravainen and C Matt Carey.

Noah, Augustin lead Bulls past Timberwolves in Minneapolis

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MINNEAPOLIS—D.J. Augustin’s career was swirling down the drain when the Toronto Raptors waived him in December, and the former No. 9 overall pick seemed destined to join the long list of promising prospects that just never made it in the NBA.Four days later, the Chicago Bulls signed him in an attempt to add some scoring punch to a defense-first team. Augustin has flourished in Chicago, one of the big reasons the surprising Bulls have been able to weather Derrick Rose’s injury and the trade of Luol Deng to stay in the hunt in the Eastern Conference.

”We needed him,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, ”and he needed us.”

Augustin had another big game Wednesday night, scoring 21 points to lead the Bulls to a 102-87 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.Joakim Noah added 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double, moving into a tie with Indiana’s Lance Stephenson for the most in the NBA this season. Kirk Hinrich scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and the Bulls hit 11 of 21 3-pointers to stay right on Toronto’s heels for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

”We wouldn’t be in this position without D.J.,” Noah said. ”His passing ability, his scoring ability, just the way he plays the game. … I feel like I have really good chemistry with him and I think the rest of this team feels that way, too. We’re going to need him down the stretch.”

Kevin Love had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves. But he hyperextended his right elbow in the first half and only made 7 of 20 shots, including 2 of 8 3-pointers. Ricky Rubio added 15 points and six assists, but the Wolves were just 4 for 17 from long distance.

”I should’ve made a lot of those open shots that I missed,” said Love, who also had a large bloody scratch on his chest after getting tied up with Carlos Boozer. ”Yeah it was bothering me a little bit. But that’s no excuse for the poor shooting.”

The Bulls entered the night with the same record as Toronto, with the tiebreaker going to the Raptors and only five games to play before the playoffs begin. The schedule certainly favors the Raptors, who beat the 76ers on Wednesday night and finish the season with two games against the Knicks and one each against the Pistons and Bucks.Thanks to the raggedy East, the Bulls don’t have it much tougher with the Pistons, Knicks and Magic coming up before the season finale at playoff-bound Charlotte. That made this game against short-handed Timberwolves a crucial one.The Timberwolves played without Nikola Pekovic (right foot), Chase Budinger (right ankle), Kevin Martin (right heel), Shabazz Muhammad (right knee) and J.J. Barea (back and neck), leaving them with only 10 healthy players, and without three of their better offensive players to go at the tenacious Bulls defense.But even though the Wolves have been eliminated from playoff contention, they’ve put up quite a fight against some of the best teams in the league down the stretch. Last week Minnesota beat Memphis at home and won at Miami. The Wolves then throttled the Spurs at Target Center on Tuesday night and shot 52.6 percent to take a 53-48 lead over the Bulls at halftime.Eventually that Bulls defense started squeezing the Wolves and grinding the game down. The Wolves missed eight of their first 10 shots of the second half and scored only 17 points in the third quarter. They shot 33 percent and managed just 34 points in the second half.

”It looked like we ran out of gas in the second half,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said.

On the other end, the 3s kept falling. Mike Dunleavy, who had 15 points, hit one to give the Bulls a 65-62 lead they would never relinquish.Augustin hit two more in the fourth to help the Bulls pull away. Even bigger were his 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first half, when the Bulls were struggling to get their offense going.

”I’m just getting a chance to play, period,” Augustin said. ”Just getting an opportunity and trying to make the best of it.”

NOTES—Taj Gibson finished with 13 points and five rebounds. He picked up a technical foul in the fourth quarter for gesturing angrily after not getting a foul call under the basket. … Little-used PG Alexey Shved had nine points and a season-high five assists in 16 minutes for Minnesota. … The Wolves host their former coach and GM Kevin McHale and the Houston Rockets on Friday night in their third home game of the week.