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National Basketball Association
                === OKC tries to start new streak vs. Bulls ===
 (Sports  Network) -  Their season-high three-game losing streak is in the past
 and  the  Oklahoma City  Thunder look to  start a new  winning trend when they
 continue a three-game homestand Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls.
 The  Thunder put the brakes on the skid with Friday's 127-111 victory over the
 Minnesota  Timberwolves as Russell Westbrook made 13-of-22 shots en route to a
 season-best 37 points, handed out nine assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
 "We  let him  (have) a lot of  room to maneuver," Timberwolves head coach Rick
 Adelman  said  of Westbrook. "He's  just too quick and  too strong to give him
 room to go at the basket."
 Kevin  Durant and  Kevin Martin  scored 27  and 19  points, respectively,  for
 Oklahoma  City,  which improved to 24-4  at home and  is 5-3 in its last eight
 games overall. OKC made 9-of-14 3-pointers and shot 57.8 percent.
 "We  were able to  get some stops and make those guys shoot over hands. We put
 pressure on them on the offensive end," Durant said.
 Thunder   center  Kendrick  Perkins  returned  to  the  lineup  after  missing
 Wednesday's  loss at Houston with a sprained right knee, managing 10 points on
 4-of-6 shooting along with seven rebounds in 25 minutes.
 The  Northwest Division-leading  Thunder are 6-3 at home versus teams from the
 Eastern Conference and will close out the stand Wednesday with New Orleans set
 to invade Chesapeake Energy Arena.
 Chicago  erased an  embarrassing  loss  to Miami  (86-67)  by  taking out  its
 frustrations on the Charlotte Bobcats in Friday's lopsided 105-75 decision.
 Taj  Gibson scored  17 points off the  bench, Luol Deng had 14 points and five
 rebounds  and Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli scored 12 points
 apiece  for  the Bulls,  winner in two  of three games  since dropping four of
 five. Carlos Boozer recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
 "We  liked  the way were able  to bounce back  after a bad loss," said Gibson.
 "Last  year  we wouldn't allow  ourselves to lose  two straight games. We need
 that same mindset."
 The  Bulls, one of  the lowest-scoring teams in the NBA with 92.9 ppg, shot 50
 percent for the game and scored 21 points off 13 Charlotte turnovers. However,
 the Bulls are one of the top defensive teams, allowing 91.1 ppg, and will face
 an Oklahoma City squad averaging an NBA-best 106.7 ppg.
 In  injury news  for the  Bulls,  guard Kirk  Hinrich (elbow)  has missed  two
 straight  and  nine of  10 games,  and is questionable  for Sunday. Hinrich is
 averaging 7.0 points and 5.3 assists this season.
 Chicago  sustained  a 97-91  home loss to  the Thunder on  Nov. 8 this season.
 Durant  scored 24  points and led a fourth-quarter surge that saw OKC outscore
 the hosts, 31-19, in the final stanza.
 Oklahoma City has won three of four in this series and the last two encounters
 in the Sooner State.
 02/24 10:54:46 ET

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