Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls Preview
Two teams both sitting near the bottom of their respective conference will try and right the ship on Wednesday night. The two clubs are having similar levels of struggles this season. Minnesota is sitting at 15-28 while the Bulls haven’t fared any better with a 16-29 record. The Timberwolves will have to go into enemy territory, but Chicago is just 9-14 at home this year. The Bulls have rotated between wins and losses over their past 6 games and if the pattern continues, they could put together a 4-3 stretch. The Timberwolves have hit a very rough stretch losing their last 6 games with only one game being within 5 points.
Time: 7 PM CST
Arena: United Center, Chicago, IL
Channel: NBC Sports Chicago, Fox Sports North
Timberwolves: Allen Crabbe (Questionable), Jake Layman (Out)
Bulls: Wendell Carter (Out), Daniel Gafford (Out), Otto Porter (Out)
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup
The Timberwolves are trying to pull themselves out of a rough patch and will need their stars to do so. On Monday night, the Timberwolves couldn’t upset the Nuggets after starting hot with a 29-point first quarter they lost the next three in a 107-100 loss.
The Timberwolves didn’t exactly have the best shooting next best this was amplified by their highest volume scorers struggling. Minnesota starters went a combined 23-62 from the field including a rough 6-17 from Andrew Wiggins. They didn’t have much success from the 3-point line shooting 31% on 42 shots. Andrew Wiggins and Robert Covington had an especially poor night from deep with both of them going 1 for 7 each.
Karl-Anthony Towns was a bright spot playing in his 3rd game back after a stretch of 15 missed games in a row. Towns is still trying to find his footing again, but he might be getting comfortable again which would be obviously huge to get his elite production back. Towns put up 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists against the Nuggets and will look to keep it rolling against the Bulls. Minnesota also got a bump of the bench from Josh Okogie. The second-year man chipped in 16 points and 8 rebounds on a supper efficient 7 of 11 from the field. The Timberwolves will need Andrew Wiggins to bounce-back against Chicago. He has been their primary scorer with Towns but is only averaging 14 points on 37% from the field.
Chicago Bulls Starting Lineup
The Bulls are looking to pick up another win against a team that is struggling as well. The Bulls have followed their previous three losses (all team playoff teams) and bounce backed with a win against a sub-.500 squad. They will try to keep the trend going by beating Minnesota after dropping their last game 111-98, Monday against the Bucks in Milwaukee.
Chicago has continued to rely on Zach LaVine to keep them within distance, especially with their more recent injury issues. LaVine led the Bulls once again with 24 points which is his 11th straight game with 20+ points. LaVine is averaging 30 points per game over that span and barring something unusual I would expect that to continue.
The Bulls also finally have gotten some help off the bench from Thad Young who had been laboring a bit due to a lack of minutes. With the Bulls depleted frontcourt Young stepped up against the Bucks by filling up the stat sheet with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Young will get plenty of opportunities once again on Wednesday
Lauri Markkanen has still yet to pick up his production under Jim Boylen. Markkanen struggled against the Bucks shooting 2-11 from the field and 0-7 from 3-point land. Markkanen’s lack of progress has been a talking point all year and he needs to become more involved in the offensive scheme. He isn’t being used as the #2 scorer that he is expected to be and Jim Boylen’s odd rotations have not helped him one bit.
Key Player Matchups
Andrew Wiggins vs Zach LaVine
This is a matchup between two players who have been on different paths as of late. Wiggins shot hasn’t been falling lately while LaVine has been on fire and making a case for the all-star game. If Wiggins can match LaVine to some extent on Wednesday, it will go a long way for Minnesota.
There aren’t too many players that give you much confidence or value in this game besides the high-priced options of Towns and LaVine. A do think Lauri Markkanen should be in line for a decent bounce-back game and is only priced at $5,100 on FanDuel. Tomas Satoransky offers a lot of upside with some guaranteed minutes and only will cost you 4,700
Bet on Matchup
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