Jan 24, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) reacts to a play against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half at the United Center. The Clippers beat the Bulls 112-95. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Game 44 Preview: Wolves (21-22) @ Bulls (22-21)

The Chicago Bulls are 2nd in points allowed and second-to-last in point scored, both at 92.9 per game. The Bulls are coming off an 89-87 win over the Charlotte Bobcats in Charlotte Saturday and they’ve won ten of their last thirteen games — three of which were against Western Conference teams.

The Bulls went 2-1 against the Lakers, Suns and Clippers and will go on a six-game road trip after hosting the Wolves Monday night. The trip features games against the Spurs, Pelicans, Suns and Warriors. So while the Bulls currently are tied for 5th with the Toronto Raptors, things could change…

Bulls likely starting lineup:

PG D.J. Augustin

SG Jimmy Butler

SF Mike Dunleavy

PF Carlos Boozer

C Joakim Noah

Noah’s been averaging over 14 points, almost 15 rebounds and 6 assists over his last ten. He’s also a game-time decision tonight due to illness. Taj Gibson could see north of his usual 30 minutes, if Noah sits.

Since trading small forward Luol Deng to Cleveland, the Bulls have gone 8-3 on the strength of Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich’s replacement, D.J. Augustin. Augustin played ten games with the Toronto Raptors this season and was signed by the Bulls as a free agent six weeks ago. He’s averaged 21 points, 6 assists and almost 4 threes a game (on 58% shooting from three, and 56% overall) over his last five games.

Former breakout, feel-good story, Jimmy Butler — the 30th pick in the 2011 draft — has struggled this year, to put it mildly. Butler’s at 32% shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 10 points a game over his last ten.

Wolves likely starting lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

After putting up 26 and 30 points against Golden State and Portland, the much-maligned Kevin Martin is shooting 47% over his last 5 games.

Corey Brewer, likewise, is feeling the benefits of two games against the Utah Jazz — shooting 60% from the field over the last 3 games.

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Tags: Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Joakim Noah. Kevin Love Kevin Martin Luol Deng Minnesota Timberwolves Pregame Preview Ricky Rubio

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