With the Timberwolves starting frontcourt stuck on the bench with injuries, this is pretty much a must-win for the Bulls.
Am I confident they will actually pull it off, though? Not so much.
Chicago Bulls (11-17) at Minnesota Timberwolves (14-15) – 6:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)
1. Alex Caruso
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Patrick Williams
5. Nikola Vučević
Injury Report: Ayo Dosunmu AVAILABLE (abdominal), Javonte Green QUESTIONABLE (knee)
1. Austin Rivers
2. Anthony Edwards
3. Kyle Anderson
4. Jaden McDaniels
5. Naz Reid
Injury Report: Karl-Anthony Towns OUT (calf), Rudy Gobert OUT ankle), Jordan McLaughlin OUT (calf), Taurean Prince OUT (shoulder), D’Angelo Russell GAME TIME DECISION (knee)
The Bulls walk into tonight as -2.5 favorites against the Timberwolves at the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite …)!
For what it’s worth, I’d take an extra look at the over 10.5 rebounds for Nikola Vucevic on FanDuel. While he hasn’t hit double-digit boards since the team’s blowout win over Dallas, he could be due for it tonight against a T-Wolves team that is bottom 10 in REB%. Not to mention, Rudy Gobert will be stuck on the sideline.
What to Watch For …
- While the Timberwolves have struggled to establish an identity this season, they are still led by one of the best young guards in the game. Anthony Edwards is capable of lighting any team up on any given night, so keeping him in check is going to be an important piece of the puzzle tonight. Especially with both KAT and Gobert on the sideline, the Bulls should expect Edwards to have free range of the team’s offensive attack. I hope Ayo Dosunmu and Alex Caruso are ready to make him work.
- One can only hope that the 3-point line isn’t a problem again tonight. Despite the Knicks coming into the mini-series with Chicago as the NBA’s worse 3-point shooting team, they sunk at least 17 buckets from long range in each of the two games. Minnesota has similarly struggled throughout the course of this season from downtown – coming into tonight 24th in 3-point percentage – so I’m crossing my fingers that they will not have the same dumb luck against Chicago.
- Naz Reid is good. While it’s easy to forget about the backup big man with two All-Stars in the frontcourt, he’s one of the most skilled bench centers in the league. He reminded everyone of that against the Oklahoma City Thunder as he posted 28 points with 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Now, the Thunder’s tendency to play small undoubtedly helped him secure those numbers, but he’s still someone who has averaged 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last seven games. He’s more than capable of filling the starting role for this team, and Nikola Vucevic has to be ready to run the floor with the energetic youngster.
- A lot more in here …