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News » Thomas lights it up

Thomas lights it up

Thomas lights it up Just eight seconds after taking the court for the first time in two weeks, Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas slammed home an offensive rebound off a Jannero Pargo miss.

Within two minutes, Thomas scored 6 points and when the night was over, he?d piled up 22 points and 13 rebounds in just 25 minutes of action. The Bulls improved to 5-1 in the preseason by edging the Minnesota Timberwolves 94-90 on Friday at the United Center.

Thomas missed the previous four games with a bruised hip after taking a charge from Danny Granger in the Oct. 2 preseason opener at Indiana.

Following this game, Thomas was asked if his performance was a sign of what?s to come in the regular season, though he won?t score 22 points every night. The fourth-year forward disagreed with the question.

"It?s possible," he said. "You?re saying I?m not (going to score 22 in every game), but it?s possible. If I come out and do what I have to do, it?s possible and not to go out on a limb, but it?s likely."

Thomas seemed to be in agreement with Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro in one regard: If Thomas attacks the offensive boards and plays with energy, he?ll get plenty of scoring opportunities.

"Offensive rebounding is basically just playing hard, trying to keep the play alive," Thomas said. "That?s something that I have to do, especially in the offense we run. In order to do my part, I have to be active on the offensive glass, do that kind of stuff."

Rookie Taj Gibson got the start at power forward since Thomas had practiced just once in the last two weeks. Gibson also played well, producing 14 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes, although he had 5 fouls by the eight-minute mark of the third quarter.

Center Brad Miller also returned to the lineup Friday after missing two games with the flu. The Bulls played without starting guards Derrick Rose and John Salmons. Rose missed his fifth straight game with a sore right ankle, while Salmons and his wife were awaiting the birth of their second child.

Despite missing key players in every game, the Bulls have been winning. When asked what it all means, Del Negro was blunt.

"Nothing. It?s exhibition," Del Negro said. "I?m glad the guys are competing, but we have so many different lineups out there. I?m just trying to mix and match to make it work a little bit."

Minnesota power forward Kevin Love broke a bone in his left hand while pulling down a rebound in the third quarter. After the game, he said he hoped to be back in late November or early December.

One possible bit of good news for the Bulls was Al Jefferson, who usually scores at will in the post against them, hit just 3 of 10 shots for 10 points in 34 minutes of action. He did grab a game-high 16 rebounds.

Jefferson was on the floor in the fourth quarter when the Timberwolves (1-3) erased an 11-point deficit to tie the score in the final minute. Pargo answered by draining a 20-foot jumper with 31.6 seconds remaining to give the Bulls an 89-87 lead.

Jefferson missed a free throw that could have tied the score with 12.2 seconds on the clock before Gibson and Derrick Byars clinched the victory at the foul line. Corey Brewer scored 20 points to lead Minnesota.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 20, 2009


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