Official Game #56 Preview

Statistical Breakdown:
Time: Tonight 7 p.m. CST
Place: Target Center
CHI record: 27-26
MIN record: 13-42
CHI road record: 11-17
MIN home record: 9-18
CHI record v. Western Conf: 10-11
MIN record v. Eastern conf: 6-16
CHI PPG: 96.0 (26th)
MIN PPG: 97.8 (21st)
CHI opponents PPG: 97.9 (13th)
MIN opponents PPG: 106.6 (28th)
CHI RPG: 45.5 (1st)
MIN RPG: 43.4 (4th)
CHI RPG Diff: 2.2 (7th)
MIN RPG Diff: 0.3 (16th)
CHI AST/TO: 20.2/14.8
MIN AST/TO: 19.6/16.1
CHI FG%: 44.4% (25th)
MIN FG%: 44.8% (23rd)
CHI opponents FG%: 43.7% (T-3rd)
MIN opponents FG%: 47.6% (26th)
CHI 3PT%: 33.8% (24th)
MIN 3PT%: 33.4% (26th)
CHI FT%: 75.8% (17th)
MIN FT%: 74.0% (22nd)
Last meeting: CHI 110-96
My prediction: CHI 121-98

Preview: Oh man I do not like this matchup for the Wolves at all. I think the Bulls are too athletic and too strong on the boards for Minnesota to beat them. I will be surprised if the T-Wolves hang in there with the Bulls. Derrick Rose is too big, too strong, and too lethal for a struggling Jonny Flynn to handle. I am interested to see what Kurt Rambis does in terms of the defensive matchups. Will he matchup Corey Brewer and his length against Kirk Hinrich or will he put Brewer on Luol Deng? Either way I think the matchups will be bad. I think if it was me I would throw caution to the wind and place Kevin Love back into the starting lineup tonight. I know together Big Al and Love are not athletic enough to defend Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah but at least they will grab boards and score points. If you leave Ryan Hollins in to defend Noah you are going to get destroyed on the glass. Hollins is a horrible rebounder and Noah is one of the best the league has to offer.

I don’t think this is the game that Big Al is able to put together two complete halves of basketball. In fact I believe the Bulls might run Big Al so much he actually might play one of his worst games of the year. I think Kevin Love might have a big game if only for the fact he is the only Wolf not struggling as of late, and besides someone has to score for Minnesota. I also don’t think Kurt Rambis changes his rotation at all and as long as he doesn’t, I think the Wolves lose badly.

The last storyline in tonight’s game is the possible debut of Darko Milicic for the Wolves. In case you haven’t read the story Phil Miller of the Star Tribune wrote this morning, Darko essentially says he does not want to play in the NBA again. Apparently the trade has not changed Darko’s mind and he is not exactly enthusiastic about the possibility of playing again. As much as I liked the trade, the Darko/Minnesota experiment might be headed to a quick ending.

Key Matchups: Noah v. Hollins, Gibson v. Jefferson, Rose v. Flynn

Projected Starting Lineups:
Chicago Bulls
PG Derrick Rose 19.9 pts, 5.8/2.77 Ast/TO
SG Kirk Hinrich 10.3 pts, 4.4 ast
SF Luol Deng 18.2 pts, 7.4 reb
PF Taj Gibson 8.1 pts, 6.7 reb
C Joakim Noah 11.2 pts, 12 reb

Minnesota Timberwolves
PG Jonny Flynn 13.8 Pts, 4.3/2.75 Ast/TO
SG Corey Brewer 13.1 Pts, 3.7 Reb
SF Ryan Gomes 10.9 Pts, 4.4 Reb
PF Al Jefferson 17.7 Pts, 9.6 Reb
C Ryan Hollins 6.1 Pts, 2.9 reb
Go Wolves!!!!!!!!!!

Topics: Big Al, Corey Brewer, Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love, Kurt Rambis, Ryan Gomes, Ryan Hollins

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