NBA Preview: Chicago Bulls vs Minnesota Timberwolves
The Bulls come into Minnesota on a defensive high after shutting the Pistons down and limiting Detroit to 39.4 percent shooting and forcing a season-high 19 turnovers in a 92-68 home victory. The Bulls, whose lone back-to-back-to-back stretch of the season will conclude at home Wednesday versus winless Washington, hope to replicate Monday’s performance against the Timberwolves.
Can the Bulls control a low post force like Kevin Love? With options in the post being a bit undersized and nowhere near the skill level of Kevin Love, the Bulls will have to run double and sometimes triple team efforts, which may open the door for some of the other young talent in Minnesota.
The All-Star forward went 3 of 16 from the field and finished with a season-low 13 points — 11 below his team-leading average — and also missed half of his 10 foul shots. He had made 24 of 30 free throws in his previous five games.
Chicago takes great pride in its defense, but couldn’t be too proud of its performance in Saturday’s 109-94 loss to Atlanta. The Bulls yielded 63 first-half points and fell behind by as many as 29, en route to allowing opponent season highs in scoring and field-goal percentage (56.6).
The Timberwolves would seemingly be at a disadvantage against Chicago playing in Toronto on Monday and Washington on Sunday, but teams playing for a third consecutive day have enjoyed surprising success. All six NBA teams that have completed back-to-back-to-back stretches have won the finale.
Carlos Boozer averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds against the Timberwolves in 2010-11, and is averaging 18.5 points, 8.3 boards and shooting 56.9 percent in his last four games overall. He finished with a season-high 23 points and shot 9 of 13 in 26 minutes Monday. Expect those numbers to suffer as he chases Love in the low post tonight.