Bulls vs Timberwolves 7pm on WGN

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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.

Final thoughts

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.

Comments

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  • FUN MATCHUP:

    KLove vs. CBooz...advantage KLove, who is playing at an All-Star level.

  • Have you guys noticed that beasley trys to show up rose I think its cuz rose was taken first

    Like last year he was guarding rose on a switch avd called off the help defense and rose blew by him even with his injury haha

    God I can't believe I was for beasley over rose!! Beasley isn't bad but he's not drose

  • I think anything less than 12 wins over the next 14 games has to be considered failure. Am I setting the bar too high?

  • This is asking a lot, but if Bulls can win the next 6 straight they are a .700 team heading into Madison Square Garden.

    Even if Boozer was healthy the whole season, I don't know how many people would have picked the Bulls to be 13-8(.619) after the circus trip and then Magic/Celtics/Thunder/Lakers.

    Bulls looked terrible against Magic/Celtics, but have recovered nicely. We've watched Rose develop before our very eyes in these 21 games. After Rose claimed he had a 3pt shot he opened the season shooting 24% over 8 games, now the last 13 games he's shooting 46% - remarkable! And closing out games?!? He's the real thing.

    GarPax and the Reinsdorfs have got to be thinking about how within the next year they can add the last pieces to contend for the Finals. I hope they're seriously thinking that way now with what Rose is showing. I hope they're not content, but the new CBA looms large in any teams' plans.

    It was the Garnett trade and the Gasol trade that created the powerhouses that have dominated the Finals since 2008. Bulls are now closer than Celtics and Lakers were before those two trades. Can Gar/Pax make those final upgrades? This is the GM's version of being a closer!

    For the record I'm not necessarily referring to Melo.

  • You are absolutely right Edward, this is the time for Bulls management to put together the final pieces to make this team into a true contender. It's what I have been saying all along, that this team has some glaring holes to fill and whether it be the trade deadline or after the season is over, they will have to make some sort of trade to get this team in the conversation with Orlando, Boston, and the Heat as contenders in the east.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Yes, the holes are glaring. But its not going to be easy for the Bulls to add the necessary pieces. Their flexibility is rather limited. Only real assets Bulls have to trade are Taj and the Charlotte pick - and they're only 2 million under the cap. But this is a defining moment for GarPax. They've got to get it done - somehow.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agreed...as you said earlier, Boston for it done and won a championship and L.A. did the same to win two championships. I know they don't have much to offer but you're right this is a critical time for them, between the trade deadline and after the season, something has to be done.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Reesel,

    Just saying...

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2eg9ghh

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yeah that's possible Happy cause I really can't see Melo wanting to join the Bobcats. MJ just may be up to something.

  • Deng going nuts here in the first. That probably tells you all you need to know about the Wolves' defense.

  • nice work by noah, rose with a couple of rookie plays before that 3

  • Very sloppy finish to the quarter yet again, but then Rose nails a 3-pt buzzer beater. Good stuff from Noah on the boards, but he was slightly bested by Love in that department.

  • Rose above 40% on the season on 3s now.

  • Cj watson looks completely missused out there, isnt he supossed to score?

  • Two Brewer on Brewer charges already this game. That has to be an NBA record.

  • kevin love must be the all time meaningless stat king

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Guy really gets on the offensive block though. Hard for anyone to move him around, even when he gets an extremely physical matchup.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    In other news, the Bulls have been befitting from great play from Luol Deng as of late. He is the guy uneducated bulls fans love to hate, but over the last 5-6 games he has been an extremely strong defender, not necessarily getting on the stat sheet. Instead, he has been strong at contesting shots and playing stopper on the opposing small or SG, in the case of Bryant. His offensive production has been really efficient, save for the fact he misses every free throw I see him shoot (although he's not on Asik's level yet). He, not Boozer, really has been the catalyst outside of Rose during the bulls current run.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    I think having Boozer is helping Deng, his shots are down and efficiency up.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    did you guys here that mayo could be on the market ? Hmm id like him but they'd probably want taj and then our bigs rotation would blow!.I'd give up any of the following jj, asik, thomas, watson, brewer or korver but I don't think they'd take any of those with the bobcats pick

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    That a rookie averaging 6 points a game is making Mayo expendable should tell you all you need to know about giving up much for him.

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Just noticed that with the three point shooting from this game the Bulls are now shooting better than the league average from three this year. Pretty amazing considering it looked like a huge weakness coming into the season.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    did you guys here that mayo could be on the market ? Hmm id like him but they'd probably want taj and then our bigs rotation would blow!.I'd give up any of the following jj, asik, thomas, watson, brewer or korver but I don't think they'd take any of those with the bobcats pick

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Sorry about the typos its late "did you guys here" lol woops

  • Nice to get a really easy win, no starter over 29 minutes. Hopefully we see a few more of these with the soft schedule.

  • hadnt seen that much garbage time in a bulls game since i dont know when

  • Dont get the Bulls games where I live. Great too see that they finally blew a team out (and a Minnesota team that appears to be on the upswing).

    Quick question. Given the starting five the Wolves put out there, who did the Bulls match up with? Was Deng on Beasley and Bogans on Johnson?

  • With this single game Bulls just added 1.5 to their season point differential average. I think this more than doubles it.

  • CAREER HIGH:

    I believe DRose set a career high for 3 pt. shots made with 5.

    ALL STARS:

    Both DRose and KLove need to make it this year.

    CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM:

    This was a game the Bulls should have won and a team they should have BLOWN-OUT.

    Boston, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando aren't going anywhere. The Bulls still need to UPGRADE their roster, if they want to win the Conference.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    They did beat this team by blowing them out.

    I don't get you.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    What game were you watching. I guess they could have won by 40...

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    ...And the Bulls are better than Atlanta, with or without Joe Johnson playing. Period.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I don't know that Michael is thinking about anything other than to not look terrible with his next move as GM. Which he would most certainly do if he tries to deal for 'Melo like ESPN is reporting. So I agree that he must be pursuing a third party trade like this one. Don't know if he is willing to part with Wallace though.

  • Bogans was 2-3 from 3pt. That means his starting job will remain intact through the February trading deadline. LOL

  • In reply to Edward:

    YYeah he is still terrible though. This has to be Thibs way of showing Gar/Lax that he needs a quality shooting guard. If Bulls brass isn't motivated to get something done with Bogan's lousey play of Kate then they are satisfied with this team. Oh and good blow out win by the Bulls, and one aide note... it is rumored that MJ is putting together a package deal to get a trade done for Carmelo. Don't know if Melo is willing to resign with Charlotte but MJ and Melo are boys, just sayin...

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Bogans is bad but...I'm not ready to sanction Thonus' endorsement of Korver starting just yet. I think Brewer, especially with his torrid defensive play, should at least be given a chance to start games.

  • Leave a comment...

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reesel,

    Sometimes loyalty isn't a good thing.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think Melo will do one of two things. Resign with Denver OR sign as a free agent with the Knicks in the off-season.

    I doubt Denver will agree to a trade with a team Melo is willing to re-sign with. I think Denver will be difficult to trade with and lose Melo for nothing just like Toronto/Bosh and Cleveland/LeBron.
    Just my opinion.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reesel,

    I have a different spin on the Charlotte/Melo talks.

    It's just a hunch, which I have brought up before, but I think MJ wants Melo on the Bulls. Think about all of the commercials and money they both could make, if Melo were to play and win in Chicago.

    Countless amounts.

    Make not mistake about it. MJ is a business man. And Melo is one of his clients.

    Just throwing that out there.

  • I think they really need Rubio to come over and be good in the NBA. They're really in a bad spot right now with bad PG play but can't do anything about it because if they get another PG Rubio is never coming over.

    It'll be interesting to see what they do with Beasley now they've built his value back up.

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