The Bulls and Timberwolves are both coming off of wins last night, the Bulls had a statement game win against the Lakers while the Timberwolves beat up on the Pistons. The Bulls have the advantage of not having to travel between the two dates making their lives a bit easier.
While the Timberwolves are frequently the butt of many jokes, they've got a couple guys who can fill up the box score. Michael Beasley has improved considerably after leaving Dwyane Wade's shadow and is averaging 21.5 points per game for the Wolves, and Kevin Love averages 20.7 with 15 rebounds per game.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, they have terrible PG play, only Darko as a real center, and are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. The Bulls will primarily need to avoid coming out flat, like against Cleveland, and not being complacent after last night's statement win.
Keys to the game
Play with discipline offensively
The Timberwolves don't have much in the way of defense on the perimeter or interior, so the Bulls just need to use patience, share the ball, and take quality shots. This is the type of team the Bulls should easily dissect in the half court or in transition. Derrick Rose should have little problem getting to the rim, and Carlos Boozer should score at will.
The Bulls need to avoid falling into sloppy patterns like they did against Cleveland, turning the ball over, and letting the Wolves off easy. A patient attack will get the job done.
Box out Kevin Love
Kevin Love can throw up some monster games, and the Bulls will really need Carlos Boozer to step up and keep his body on him. Love's got a lot of weight and can bully his way into the paint. He's also got outstanding timing, follows the ball, and is relentless.
Boozer's a solid matchup against Love though as he has the strength to keep him out of the paint and is a quality rebounder himself. Joakim Noah will also need to step up on the glass to keep the ball out of Love's hands. Limiting the freebie offensive rebound baskets and putbacks of the Timberwolves will go a long way towards assuring victory.
Pressure their guards
On offense, the Timberwolves lack ball handling and explosiveness in their backcourt, and they'll be vulnerable to teams that press their guards hard. Unleash Ronnie Brewer to create havoc defensively against these guys. It's also a great game to give James Johnson some burn and tell him to go nuts defensively.
The Bulls should be able to force the Timberwolves into sloppy offensive play and capitalize on easy baskets in transition the other way.
Don't get complacent
Cleveland was the trap game, and the Bulls barely escaped that one. This is the let down game, so the Bulls need to stay focused. The Timberwolves also one last night, but they're more likely to build momentum than feel full of themselves. The bulls just defeated Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for the first time in Rose/Noah's career, they need to make sure they come with the same energy tonight or they could get upset.
This should be a relatively easy win. If the Bulls come in focused and execute, the game will be over early. If they lack energy and passion then the Timberwolves will hang around all night, and they'll have a dog fight on their hands. Even with a sub par effort, the Bulls should defeat a Timberwolves team at home though, let's just hope they don't make it harder than it has to be.