MINNEAPOLIS - No Joakim Noah, no Derrick Rose, no Marco Belinelli, and still it didn't matter Sunday night for the Chicago Bulls at Target Center.
Missing four players, including three starters, against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that finally is almost healthy, the Bulls used their muscle to forge a 104-97 victory that reversed two trends.
Until Sunday, Chicago had lost five of its last six road games and the Wolves had won three of four home games.
Frontcourt mates Carlos Boozer (19 points) and Luol Deng (17) combined for 36 points and Nate Robinson supplied 22 points off the bench for the Bulls, who pounded a Wolves team essentially missing only Kevin Love on the backboards. They outrebounded Minnesota 52-32 and had a 17-11 advantage in second-chance points.
Wolves forward Derrick Williams tied a career high with 28 points, 23 of them in the second half after the Bulls already had assumed command of the game.
The Bulls played without injured Noah, Belinelli, Rose and Rip Hamilton and still manhandled a Wolves team that got Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko back in the last week.
The Wolves led 12-5 before the game was six minutes old, but the Bulls erased that deficit and finished out the quarter with an 18-4 run in which both Deng and Boozer demonstrated the Bulls' physical superiority.
After being behind by seven points, the Bulls took a 23-16 lead that they extended to as many as 16 points late in the first half by scoring 14 of the second quarter's first 20 points.
Williams' desperation, banked three-pointer at the halftime buzzer got the Wolves within 56-43 at intermission. By then the Bulls already had imposed their will on the Wolves.
They also already had rceived 14 points from Deng and 11 points from Robinson - all of those 11 in the second quarter - by then as well.
The Bulls still led by 16 early in the third quarter before the Wolves put together a 10-2 run that got them back within single digits midway through the third quarter.
But they never got any closer than five points, at 90-85 with 6:15 left.
Rebounding and second-chance points told the story again here, when Deng reached over Budinger for an offensive rebound and found Robinson out beyond the arc for a three-point shot that pushed Chicago's lead back to 93-85.
From there, they pushed their lead back to as many as 15 points in the final five minutes.
NOTES: Love said before Sunday's game that he will have an MRI taken on his broken right shooting hand at the end of this coming week. The result will be sent to his New York City surgeon so he won't have to make another visit. He admitted there's a chance he won't play again if the surgeon says it needs another week of healing or more. "I'd like to come back," he said. "I'd like to be out there." ... Love was presented with his 2012 U.S. Olympic ring before Sunday's game and said he'll likely wear it on that right shooting hand. "I bought it a size up so I could fit my fat fingers into it when I'm 50, 60 years old," he told a handful of aging reporters. "No offense." ... Guard Derrick Rose accompanied the Bulls to Minnesota even though he's not yet ready to return from knee surgery, but Noah and Hamilton were left behind. Hamilton has missed the last month because of a back injury and Noah missed his second straight game because of plantar fasciitis that has flared again in his right foot. "It just started bothering him again," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about Noah. "We just thought it was best to let it calm down a little bit."