Scouting Report: Wolves (21-22) at Bulls (22-21) | Jan. 27, 2014

Scouting Report: Wolves (21-22) at Bulls (22-21) | Jan. 27, 2014


Timberwolves at Bulls | 7:00 PM — United Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North, NBATV

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

No Derrick Rose. No Luol Deng. No Kirk Hinrich.

And the Chicago Bulls are still treading water, sitting at 22-21, good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference?

Hard to believe, but that indeed is the case as players like Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler have stepped up tremendously for The Windy City.

This will be the final game of a four-game road stretch that brought Minnesota to Utah (win), Golden State (win) and Portland (loss). The Wolves hope to end the trip on a positive note by taking down the Bulls at the United Center.

Going into the game, the Wolves sit at 21-22. Minnesota hopes it can start a run for the eighth seed in the West. With 39 games remaining, the Wolves play 21 at home, 24 against teams with a .500 or better record and 26 against Western Conference opponents.

Tonight's game is on Fox Sports North, NBATV and 830 WCCO-AM. Today is also the Timberwolves and Fox Sports North's Broadcast Auction, which will raise money for the FastBreak Foundation. The auction begins at 9 a.m. and runs through the end of the Wolves vs. Bulls game. Three unique, one-of-a-kind auction items are up for bid, including a kids birthday bash with Crunch at the Mall of America/photo opportunity with your favorite Wolves player, a 4-day, 3-night trip to the Wolves' games at Summer League in Las Vegas, and a suite for 20 at the Feb. 8 Wolves game against the Blazers (including courtside pregame seats and postgame meet-and-greet with players on the court).

Bids can be placed by calling 612-673-1275. Early bidding runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Television coverage begins at 6:30 p.m., with phone lines opening again when the Wolves tip off at 7 p.m. Bid updates will be available on and throughout the FOX Sports North broadcast of the Wolves game. CLICK HERE for more details on the auction.

Last Meeting

The Wolves were 0-2 against the Bulls last season, with the last game coming on March 24 at the Target Center. The Wolves fell 104-97

The Bulls played just eight players in the win, but it was enough. Nate Robinson (now with Nuggets) led the way with 22 points off the bench, shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 4-of-8 from downtown. Butler added 20, while Carlos Boozer scored 19 points while hauling in 12 rebounds. Deng (now with Cavaliers) had 17 points and Taj Gibson added 12 off the bench.

Derrick Williams (now with Kings) got the start for injured star Kevin Love and scored 28 points, shooting 11-of-18 from the field. Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic added 15 points each. Dante Cunningham led the bench with 10 points. The wolves lost despite shooting 50 percent from the field (39-of-78).

This Week’s Results

Wolves Minute

Jan. 27, 2014

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The Wolves are coming off of a 115-104 road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back.

Kevin Martin continued his hot play, scoring 30 points while shooting 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Pekovic finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Love joined the double-double club as well, scoring 15 points and hauling in 13 rebounds. Rubio scored 10 points and had a game-high 11 assists.

The Wolves are 3-2 in their last five games.

Chicago has hit a bit of a hot streak, having won four of its last five games. The last win coming on Saturday against the Charlotte Bobcats on the road, 89-87.

D.J. Augustin got some revenge on his old club, scoring 28 points, 18 coming from the 3-point line. Gibson led the second unit with 13 points. Mike Dunleavey added 13, while Boozer had 10. Noah nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

What To Watch: Nikola Pekovic vs. Joakim Noah

This should be a fun battle to watch. A classic offense vs. defense matchup, with Pekovic being one of the league’s most talented offensive centers and Noah being a monster on the defensive end.

On the season, Pekovic is averaging career-highs of 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field. He is third in the NBA with 179 offensive rebounds. Pekovic makes a very strong case for the Western Conference All-Star team.

As a member of the 2012-13 All-Defensive First Team, Noah hasn’t disappointed in 2013-14, having hauled in an NBA best 320 defensive rebounds this season. Noah is averaging 11.7 points per game this season, to go with career-highs of 11.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’s also swatting 1.3 shots per contest. Noah is shooting just 46.2 percent from the field, though, the worst mark of his career.

If there is any center in the league that’s capable of slowing down Pekovic, it just might be Noah.

Injury Report

Guards J.J. Barea (back) and Ricky Rubio (ankle) are probable. Kevin Love (ankle) is also probable.

Chicago guard Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the season. Fellow guard Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) is out indefinitely.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Bulls
PG Ricky Rubio D.J. Augustin
SG Kevin Martin Jimmy Butler
SF Corey Brewer Mike Dunleavy
PF Kevin Love Carlos Boozer
C Nikola Pekovic Joakim Noah


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.