Wednesday night’s matchup will feature the Bulls and Timberwolves who both are currently sitting below the 10th seed in their respective conferences. It is safe to say that these young teams’ seasons are not living up to expectations. The Bulls are still dealing with a host of injuries. While they have brought back Wendell Carter and Otto Porter, they have also recently lost Zach LaVine who will miss his second straight game. Minnesota only has one player listed but it is their most valuable player, Karl-Anthony Towns. Chicago took the first meeting between these two clubs in January but that was prior to Minnesota’s trade deadline acquisition of D’Angelo Russell.
Time: 7 PM CST
Arena: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Channel: NBC Sports Chicago, Fox Sports North
Bulls: Lauri Markkanen (GTD), Zach LaVine (Out), Kris Dunn (Out), Chandler Hutchison (Out), Luke Kornet (Out), Max Strus (Out)
Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns (Out)
Chicago Bulls Starting Lineup
The Bulls have not been able to slow their streak of poor performances over their last six games. A 5th straight loss to the 76ers in Sunday continued to reverse any prior momentum they had built up from their back-to-back wins at the end of January. The 118-111 loss to the highlighted Chicago’s lack of depth and inability to close games out.
The Bulls are coming off a hard fought 109-107 win against the Luka Doncic lead Mavericks. Chicago was able to come back from a 10-point first quarter deficit to take the game from an above .500 team which has been a major struggle for them this year. While Dallas was without Kristaps Porzingis, the Bulls had possible a bigger disadvantage missing their leading scorer LaVine for the first time this year.
Chicago was able to take Monday’s game against Dallas due to great team defense, bench scoring, and guys stepping up. This was one of the better games the Bulls have played this year, which isn’t saying too much but is encouraging under the circumstances. Coby White continued to produce, as he was named Rookie of the Month for February, leading the Bulls in scoring with 19 points off the bench. Chicago also got 17 points from Denzel Valentine who Jim Boylen hasn’t given consistent minutes despite him showing he can score and shoot on an injury-riddled team that has lacked those qualities.
A huge boost for Chicago was Otto Porter returning for the first time since November 6th. Porter scored 18 points in just 17 minutes off the bench. Chicago showed some life in the middle of a tumultuous season. Head Coach Jim Boylen still managed to sure he is not fit to be a head coach in this league with multiple questionable timeouts that could have cost the Bulls the game. This is a game that could spark some momentum for the Bulls, but they will need to continue to play like they did on Tuesday to their return back to the poor form that we have seen the majority of the year.
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup
The Timberwolves, like the Bulls, have had an extremely tough year and their struggles will most likely continue as they have lost Karl-Anthony Towns for a couple weeks. This is still a very winnable game at home against a Bulls team that has underperformed to say the least despite their increased confidence coming off a big win.
Minnesota ironically also played their last against the Mavericks as well. It did not go as well for the Timberwolves who lost 111-91 at their home court. Unlike the Bulls contest against Dallas, the Mavs had Porzingis healthy but were without Doncic. This doesn’t inspire much confidence for their game on Wednesday but there is no indication that the Bulls will play at the same level they did on Monday. It is also worth noting that Minnesota had to play a fresh Mavs team while Chicago got to play them on the 2nd half of a back-to-back.
A poor shooting night was the main struggle for Minnesota against Dallas. They shot a tough 36% from the field. D’Angelo Russell led the Timberwolves with just 16 points on a gruesome 6-18 from the field. They will rely heavily on Russell to carry the offense with Towns out and I expect a bounce back game for him in what should be a good opportunity for him to get back on track offensively. Juan Hernangomez is a player to watch as well. He put up a 12-point, 12 rebound double-double and has taken advantage of his opportunity since being traded to Minnesota. He is averaging 13-points, nearly 7 rebounds, and an assist per game in 9 games with the Timberwolves (shooting an uber-efficient 46% from the field and beyond the arc).
Key Player Matchup
Tomas Satoransky vs D’Angelo Russell
Due to the injuries on both sides and the state of the both teams there isn’t really any primetime matchups. On that note it is important to identify how much D’Angelo Russell’s performance will have on the outcome in this game. If Russell is scoring efficiently it will bode well for the Wolves but if he struggles, it’s hard to see where the bulk of their offense comes from.
A player I like in this matchup is D’Angelo Russell due to the volume he should command. Also, as you could tell from what I wrote above, Hernangomez holds great value at a cheaper price especially with Towns sidelined. On the Bulls side Coby White should be primed for a big outing with LaVine slated to sit out this game. You could role the dice on Otto Porter, but this is a bit risky due to his minutes restriction.
Bet on Matchup
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