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Robinson Sparks Bulls To Win Over Timberwolves

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CHICAGO (AP) — Nate Robinson scored 18 points and the Chicago Bulls beat Minnesota 87-80 on Saturday night, ending the Timberwolves’ three-game winning streak.

Robinson played 31 minutes after starting point guard Kirk Hinrich left the game with a right hip strain in the second quarter. Hinrich had 11 points in the period to help Chicago beat Minnesota for the sixth straight time.

Joakim Noah added 17 points and seven rebounds, and Luol Deng chippd in with 16 points and seven rebounds, as the Bulls (4-2) bounced back from their second home loss in three outings.

Nikola Pekovic led the short-handed Timberwolves (4-2) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko added 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Minnesota’s three-game streak matched its season high from last season.

Marco Belinelli hit three 3-pointers in the opening minutes to help the Bulls establish a nine-point lead. Chicago hit 6 for 13 from behind the arc, its season high for makes. The Bulls entered the game last in the NBA in 3-point makes and attempts.

The Bulls led by as many as 10 points down the stretch, going up by that margin when Deng hit a jumper from the corner with 3:53 remaining.

The Timberwolves closed within five points on Dante Cunningham’s layup with 42.6 second to play, but the Bulls held on down the stretch.

Robinson’s seven points helped Chicago grab a six-point lead with an 11-point run midway through the second quarter. The run was capped by Noah’s feed to Taj Gibson on the baseline for a two-handed dunk.

The Timberwolves had gone 3:23 without a point before Cunningham snapped the streak with a 17-footer. Cunningham scored eight points of his 14 points in the quarter, and Minnesota battled back to lead 41-40 at the half.

The Bulls edged back in front with a 23-18 third quarter advantage, capped when rookie Marquis Teague drove the lane and scored with his left hand for his first career points. That gave Teague as many points as Carlos Boozer, who was 0 for 5 from the floor in the game.

Boozer finished with two points and failed to make a field goal in a game for the first time since Nov. 18, 2003.

The Bulls got the good and bad from mercurial guard Robinson in the second period, as he scored 11 points to fuel Chicago’s rally, but also turned the ball over five times to help Minnesota’s recovery.

The Bulls led 20-19 after the first quarter despite 10 points and six rebounds from Pekovic. Deng led Chicago with seven points in the period.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)