By: Jonah Sprinkel
Last Sunday, the Minnesota Timberwolves may have begun the process of righting the ship with their 114-112 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Just before that, the team went one for six, including a winless four game road trip. For a team that had, or may still have, playoff aspirations, the Timberwolves must take advantage of the opportunities to make up ground when they arise. The next three games against Chicago, Atlanta and Miami are a prime example of an opportunity for this, but the Wolves must take it one game at a time. First up, the Bulls.
What: Wolves @ Bulls
When: 7:00 PM CT
Where: United Center
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 AM WCCO
What to watch for
The worst offense in the league: The Chicago Bulls cannot put the ball in the hoop Their best scorer, Zach LaVine, is currently out with an ankle issue. Outside of him, Lauri Markkanen is leader in points per game with just over 17. The team ranks last in the league in offensive rating, trailing the 29th ranked team by over 2 points per 100 possession. No other team trails the team ranked above them by more than 1.25 points per 100 possessions. If the Wolves can’t slow down this team, I give up.
Point guard injuries: Both Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose missed time with ankle injuries. The duo continues to be listed on the injury report, though Teague is expected to miss much more time than Rose. So long as both remain sidelined, or even anything less than healthy, the point guard position will prove to be an exposable weakness for the Wolves, regardless of the opposition.
KAT’s slump: Karl-Anthony Towns is and will continue to be the focal point of the Wolves offense. When the best player on a team goes into a slump, the team will be hard pressed to come up with a win. Through the last three games, in which the Wolves have gone 1-2, the Kentucky product is averaging nearly 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and a block with a 38/21/82 shooting split. The team was lucky to come out of OKC with a win, more lines like this from Towns and the Wolves will need more of that luck.
Minnesota: PG Tyus Jones, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Robert Covington, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Chicago: PG Ryan Arcidiacono, SG Kris Dunn, SF Justin Holiday, Lauri Markkanen, C Wendell Carter
Minnesota: Jeff Teague – OUT (ankle), Derrick Rose – Day-to-Day (ankle)
Chicago: Zach LaVine – Questionable (ankle)
The Timberwolves should be able to build on their most recent win and create a two-game winning streak. The Bull simply don’t have the talent to keep up with the Timmberwolves. At least that is the hope.