Timberwolves vs. Bulls Preseason Game Preview

Tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves square off with the Chicago Bulls in their first preseason game at Target Center.

The Wolves enter tonight's game 5-1 on the preseason, with all five wins coming on the road, including wins in Billings, MT and Bismarck, ND.

Minnesota's latest victory was a 111-107 win over Denver Sunday evening, which avenged Minnesota's only preseason loss, which came in Denver on Oct. 10th.

Mike Miller started Minnesota on the right track early on in Sunday's win, scoring 11 points in the first quarter, while Randy Foye handed out eight assists on his way to 15 for the game.

With Miller and Foye opening the game strong, it was veteran guard Kevin Ollie and 2nd year guard Blake Ahearn who closed the game. Ollie knocked down 4 free throws in the final 16 seconds while Ahearn gave the Wolves the lead on a big three pointer with 30 seconds left.

The Wolves will play their next four games at Target Center (two preseason, two regular season) and Coach Randy Wittman said it's nice to be back home.

"Its good to be back and finally play a game here," said Coach Wittman. "These next two days will be good, the back-to-back situation is the first time we've had that this year in the preseason. We're gonna have to do that twenty some times this year so I think its a good way to end the preseason."

It's not just Wittman who is excited about being back at the Target Center; Corey Brewer can't wait to let the fans see this new team.

"I'm really glad to be back, we've been on the road for two weeks now. This is a great chance for the fans to see us play our first game and (for us) to show them what we've got this year."

This marks the second meeting of the preseason between the Wolves and Bulls. In the first game, Chicago went up by 19 before Minnesota was able to assert themselves and pick up a 96-86 win.

The focus tonight, as it has been every night, is defense according to Coach Wittman.
"That's what this team is gonna have to do, we don't have a lot of individual lock-down guys, so we have to be a team that plays defense team-wise. That's what we have been stressing (in the preseason)."

Brewer, who is one of the team's best defensive players, said that focus is one of the reasons this team is 5-1 heading into tonight's contest.

"Last year we didn't really have team defense, a lot of guys beat us and got to the basket and got easy lay-ups. But this year it's more about the team, helping each other—help the helper—and I think its working out for us. It doesn't put it on one person to stop the guy, everyone has to stop him."

If the Wolves hope to improve to 6-1 this preseason they will have to slow down number one overall draft pick Derrick Rose, who went off for 30 points and 7 assists in the Bulls 109-105 win over Dallas last night.

Chicago is just 2-4 this preseason under new head coach Vinny Del Negro, but is loaded with young talent and Brewer said he learned a little something about Rose in their first meeting.
"He's fast...Derrick Rose is extremely fast. But I think if we play good team defense we can contain him."

Tip off from Target Center is set for 7:00 p.m. Tonight's game is the first this season that can be seen on FSN North with Tom Hanneman and Jim Petersen on the call.