Notebook: Bulls 87, Timberwolves 80

Posted Nov 10, 2012 11:22 PM

By Kent McDill, for

THE FACTS: In a game between two teams missing their best players for a long time, the host Chicago Bulls defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 87-80 Saturday, ending Minnesota's three-game winning streak. Nate Robinson, who played 31 minutes in place of injured starting guard Kirk Hinrich, led the Bulls with 18 points, while Joakim Noah had 17 points and four blocked shots. Nikola Pekovic led the Wolves with 18 points, and Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

THE FACTS II: After getting outplayed in the fourth quarter in the loss to Oklahoma City Thursday, the Bulls exerted their authority in the fourth quarter Saturday. They held the Wolves to 30 percent shooting (seven for 23) and blocked five shots in the quarter. Marco Bellinelli had one of his best games as a Bull with 11 points, nine in the fourth quarter.

QUOTABLE I: "It kills me to turn the ball over. I promised Coach Thibs I would not turn it over in the second half. Coach wrote on the bulletin board that we had eight turnovers in the first half and five of those were mine." -- Bulls guard Robinson, who played 18 minutes in the second half without a turnover.

THE STAT: At halftime, the Bulls had nine offensive rebounds but only one second-chance point.

THE STAT II: While the Bulls' Carlos Boozer continued to have difficulty scoring, going zero for five from the field in 26-plus minutes, Minnesota's Derrick Williams doubled him in futility, going zero for 10 from the field in 21 minutes. Boozer did contribute nine rebounds and four assists, however.

THE STAT III: Nate Robinson became the fifth player in the first six games to lead the Bulls in scoring as they search for a scoring leader in the absence of Derrick Rose.

TURNING POINT: Neither team led by more than four points in the third quarter, which ended with the Bulls up 63-59. The Bulls scored the first basket of the fourth quarter, a 3-pointer by Bellinelli, and when he followed that with another 3-pointer on their next possession, the Bulls were up 69-61 with 11 minutes left.

INJURY UPDATE: Bulls guard Hinrich left the game in the second quarter with a right hip strain and did not return. Minnesota guard Jose Barea missed his second consecutive game with a left mid-foot sprain. Minnesota guard Chase Budinger left the United Center on crutches with what was described as a twisted knee.

HOT: Robinson was 8-for-14 from the field for the Bulls. Pekovic was 8-for-13 for Minnesota.

QUOTABLE II: "They've got big people who are very agile. They challenge you." Minnesota coach Rick Adelman, discussing the Bulls' inside players.

ROOKIE WATCH: Making his longest appearance as a Bull, rookie guard Marquis Teague played six minutes and scored his first professional basket.

NOTABLE: With the victory, the Bulls once again avoided their first two-game home losing streak in the three seasons Tom Thibodeau has been coach... the Bulls have one more home game Monday against Boston before going on their five-game West Coast trip... The Bulls own a six-game winning streak over Minnesota.

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, Monday vs. Celtics, Wednesday @ Suns, Saturday @ L.A. Clippers. For the Timberwolves, Monday @ Dallas, Wednesday vs. Charlotte, Friday vs. Warriors.