NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 9th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (45-32) at Minnesota Timberwolves (39-38), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls hope to keep rolling into the Eastern
Conference's third spot when they shoot for a sixth straight victory Wednesday
against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.
The Bulls and Toronto Raptors are even for the third seed in the conference
with five games to play and sit two games ahead of Brooklyn.
Chicago kept the pressure on with Saturday's 96-78 win against playoff-bound
Washington and received 25 points off the bench from D.J. Augustin. Joakim
Noah added 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer tallied 16 points.
"We're not looking forward to the playoffs just yet, but we wanted to come out
tonight and do it for ourselves," said Augustin, who had 17 points in the
first half and is averaging 19.8 points in his last five games.
Augustin was 6-of-11 from beyond the arc and 8-of-19 from the field overall.
The Bulls, who are 7-1 in the last eight games and 33-14 since the calendar
turned, are unbeaten in three straight and seven of the last nine road games.
They are 20-18 outside the United Center this season.
Minnesota will resume a three-game homestand Wednesday and opened the stay
with Tuesday's 110-91 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Although they're out of the playoffs, the Timberwolves played tough against
one of the best teams in the league and were led by Ricky Rubio's 23 points
and seven assists. Rubio didn't have to worry about facing Spurs guard Tony
Parker, who missed the game because of a back injury.
"(Ricky) was under control and was able to get his feet under him and shot it
well," said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. "He did a nice job of running the
team and adjusting to how they were defending him."
Kevin Love finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Corey Brewer had 14 points
and Gorgui Dieng posted 12 points with 15 rebounds for Minnesota, which has
won three of its last four games and is 23-15 at Target Center.
The T'Wolves will close the homestand Friday versus Houston and would qualify
for the playoffs had they resided in the weaker Eastern Conference.
On the injury front for the Wolves, guards Kevin Martin (foot) and Chase
Budinger (ankle) missed Tuesday's game and are questionable versus the Bulls.
Center Nikola Pekovic is still nursing an ankle problem.
Minnesota defeated Chicago 95-86 in the first meeting on Jan. 27, when Love
pumped in 31 points and made all 14 of his foul shots. Boozer compiled 20
points and 14 rebounds in that one for the Bulls, who had won the previous
seven games in this series.
The Bulls have won their last four visits to the Twin Cities.
04/09 10:24:11 ET