After a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a primetime matchup on TNT, the Chicago Bulls go on to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday afternoon at the United Center. The Bulls are currently fifth in the Eastern conference with a 4-2 record while the Timberwolves are 2-2 on the season.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is coming off an explosive performance, registering 29 points and seven assists. Jimmy Butler chipped in with 26 points to combine for 55 points between the duo while outplaying OKC stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The 104-98 victory was well needed in response to the Bulls troubling 25-point loss to the Charlotte Hornets. The big difference was the Bulls increased focus on the defensive end. Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg preached that the Bulls needed to get back on the break and lock down on their one-on-one matchups.
Energized play from Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson was impactful in gaining the important fourth win of the season. The Bulls fed off of Rose's inspired play.
Coach Hoiberg stated, “Seven assists only two turnovers (plus five rebounds) was great for Derrick....For him to have a game like this again is a huge confidence builder. I know the (players) couldn’t be happier for him because they know how hard he worked in the off season and how much time he has put in to get back after the eye injury to start the season. Hats off to Derrick for sticking with it and coming out and having a great game.”
After receiving constant criticism, the Bulls star responded confidently. The calm and collected attitude of Rose is helping as he recovers from Orbital surgery.
In regards to ignoring criticism, Rose explained, “No one game is going to define who I am as a player.....I’m so numb to it (hysterical criticism). I try to stay away from it. I know who I am as a person and a player. I know hard I work. I know how hard I dedicate my whole life to this sport. Everybody has their opinion; it’s just their opinion. I’m OK with that; I’m just here to play.”
Rose will indeed be ready to play moving forward as he attempts to exploit the Timberwolves defense.
The Bulls look to stop Timberwolves' scoring leader Kevin Martin, as the veteran has posted an impressive average of 18.8 points per game. Pau Gasol will try to prevent Timberwolves rebound leader Karl-Anthony Towns as they clash in the post. Timberwolves versatile guard Ricky Rubio will try to expose the Bulls frontcourt with his passing ability (9 assists per game).
Youthful Andrew Wiggins may prove problems for the defense. Hoiberg will have to get his players in check as the game starts out in order to make sure the Bulls keep the Wolves in check.
Stay tuned to watch this home game airing on WGN-TV with a 5:00 PM CT tip-off, as the Bulls look to gain their fifth victory.