Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Bulls

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate


Wolves (1-1) vs. Bulls (1-1) – 7 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: FS North, NBA TV
Where to Listen: WCCO 830-AM

Two teams who enter the season missing their starting point guards will square off tonight, and despite the fan favorites Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio sitting out, there are several interesting storylines to entertain fans in the first preseason matchup in Minneapolis this season.

The Timberwolves and Bulls will square off tonight at Target Center, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on FSN and NBATV and will be broadcast on WCCO 830-AM.

The Bulls are a good team even without their star point guard. Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton form a savvy, veteran lineup that also features Kris Heinrichs at the point. This is a unit that compiled the NBA's best record last season, and Rose was not solely responsible for their success; the rest of the rotation is an experienced and cohesive group that will test the Timberwolves.

This is also the first time that the Target Center faithful will be able to see new additions like Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko, among others, in action. Roy is expecting family in town and should play significant minutes, while Kirilenko rested on Friday and is expected to play Saturday. Despite losing 96-91, Friday night's matchup against the Pacers saw the improved Derrick Williams drop 25 points along with 14 from Chase Budinger, another new face.

Last time out: January 10, 2012

Much like earlier games in the season against Oklahoma City and Miami, Minnesota played a contender close for most of their contest only to falter late when Chicago won 111-100 on January 10.

Despite being down only five points as late as the final two minutes, Minnesota dropped their only matchup of the season against Chicago due in part to a 31-point performance from the Bulls’ star guard Derrick Rose. Luol Deng added 21 points and 11 rebounds along with Kyle Korver dropping 13 points off the bench.

Ricky Rubio (who was still coming off the bench) had 13 points and 12 assists, making a further case for a starting spot. Fellow guard Luke Ridnour led Minnesota’s scoring with 22 points. Kevin Love tallied 20 points and 13 rebounds, but struggled from the field making only 5 of 18 shots. Minnesota was outrebounded 47-30 by Chicago, who improved to 8-1 on the season after the win.

Key matchup: Andrei Kirilenko and Luol Deng

If Kirilenko plays (he sat out of Friday's contest, as decided by coach Rick Adelman), he'll match up against one of the world's longest and effective defenders in Luol Deng. Kirilenko played 27 minutes in his Wolves debut on Wednesday against the Pacers, finishing with three points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals, and the touch passes and vision he displayed helped with the team’s ball movement in an 84-70 victory. Deng played 18 minutes on Friday night against the Cavaliers, an 86-83 loss, finishing with four points on 2-of-6 shooting.

Injury Report

Wolves guard Luke Ridnour did not play on Friday against the Pacers. He has missed both of the team’s preseason games with back spasms, but he did participate in practice on Thursday prior to the team’s trip to Indiana.


Tonight's Probable Starters
Position Timberwolves Bulls
PG JJ Barea Kirk Hinrich
SG Brandon Roy Richard Hamilton
SF Andrei Kirilenko Luol Deng
PF Kevin Love Carlos Boozer
C Nikola Pekovic Joakim Noah



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