Fittest loser
Article updated: 11/11/2012 12:58 AM

It's all about matchups for Bulls' Mohammed

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Nazr Mohammed might have been the most pleasant surprise of the preseason.

Playing just 16 minutes per game, he averaged 6.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and shot nearly 50 percent from the field.

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Maybe Omer Asik wouldn't be missed, at least in the short term.

Once the regular season began, Mohammed's contributions disappeared.

Heading into Saturday's action, he was averaging 0.6 points and 1 rebound. Only once in five games did he stay on the floor for more than seven minutes.

That can be partially explained by Bulls opponents using smaller lineups. If there's no true center to guard, Mohammed usually will stay on the bench.

"He'll be fine. He's been around," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's got to continue to play to his strengths, be ready.

"Teams that are big, he's a good matchup. A lot of teams are downsizing, so you have to be aware of what the matchups are."

Minnesota used a couple of natural centers in Nikola Pekovic and Greg Stiemsma. Mohammed logged eight minutes Saturday, more than usual, producing 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 point.

Another comeback rumored:

The hot rumor on the West Coast has the Lakers talking to Phil Jackson about returning once again to coach the team. The Lakers fired Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start.

Minnesota coach Rick Adelman was unfazed.

"At this point in time, whatever they're doing, that's their problem," he said before Saturday's game. "We've got our own problems.

"Everybody wants to deal with the Lakers six games into it. He's a great coach and they've got a very good team. They've got a six-game homestand and I've got a feeling whoever's the coach is going to win six games at home. It's just a matter of time.

"(Jackson) is certainly familiar with their key players, and they're going be just like everybody thought they would be at the end.

"They'll be right there. He's older than I am, so that's a good thing. I feel a lot better about that."

Roy has first setback:

Minnesota guard Brandon Roy sat out Saturday's game with a sore knee.

After retiring briefly with chronic knee problems, the former Portland all-star set out to make a comeback this season and had the Bulls on his list of finalists before signing with Minnesota.

Roy played in the first five games of the season, averaging 5.8 points, before sitting out the second half of Friday's win over Indiana.

"Since the start of training camp, he's been pretty good," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. "Hopefully it's just a minor setback. I certainly expected him not to go all the way through the whole time. I'm not concerned right now."

Bull horns:

Joakim Noah went to the locker room briefly with a left knee laceration in the first half, but he returned a few minutes later. … The Bulls are planning to set up several "Thank a Vet" stations during Monday's game against Boston in honor of Veterans Day. …

Funeral arrangements for former Bulls announcer Jim Durham will be Tuesday at Holy Name Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, Durham's family is requesting donations in his memory to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, The V Foundation or Chicago Bulls Charities.

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