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Sunday, March 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 104, T-Wolves 97

By Nick Friedell



MINNEAPOLIS -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 104-97 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night at Target Center.

How it happened: Playing without Joakim Noah (foot), Marco Belinelli (ab strain), Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Rip Hamilton (back), the Bulls strung together a nice win for the second night in a row. Jimmy Butler had 20 points, nine rebounds and played with the kind of energy that Tom Thibodeau always preaches about. Nate Robinson added 22 points and 10 assists -- giving the Bulls the type of offensive threat they've been lacking recently. Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 12 rebounds.

What it means: The Bulls found a way again. Butler set the trend that the rest of his teammates followed while Luol Deng and Boozer hit shots and Taj Gibson made more plays in his third game back from a sprained MCL. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has talked repeatedly about how everyone must step up in order for the Bulls to win without all their injured teammates. The player who continues to carry the team offensively at various times is Robinson. When the offense needs a spark, Robinson has the ability to provide one and he has the confidence to continue playing his game even when his shots don't go down at first. He may not be able to run the offense the way Thibodeau likes, but he does have the ability to score and that will continue to be a positive for Thibodeau's beleaguered bunch.

Hits: Deng had another solid performance for the Bulls, scoring 17 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Misses: After a nice first quarter, Kirk Hinrich finished the game just 3-for-12 from the field in 25 minutes.

Stat of the night: The Bulls have now won seven straight games over the Timberwolves.

What's next: The Bulls have a couple days off before their showdown against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night in Chicago.