Minnesota Timberwolves travel to face in-form Chicago Bulls
Jimmy Butler (right) shooting against Andrew Wiggins (left) back in 2014. | USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves travel to face in-form Chicago Bulls

Having lost four games in a row, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will be desperate for a bounce-back performance against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Tip-off is 7:00 p.m. C.T.

chris-hughes
Chris Hughes

Fresh off the back of victories against the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls will play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.

Minnesota has the joint-lowest win total in the NBA so far this season with six, leaving them with a win/loss ratio of 25 percent, with over a quarter of the season already played.

Meanwhile, the new-look Bulls sit near the top of the ever-congested Eastern Conference. Only the New York Knicks sit between them and the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers at the summit.

However, a bad string couple of results could see the franchise slip as low as ninth, a spot currently occupied by the Atlanta Hawks (12-12).

However, the Bulls have won seven-from-ten at the United Center this season, and have not lost at home by more than six points.

Minnesota, meanwhile, boasts the exact same win/loss ratio at home as they do on the road, with three wins and nine losses respectively on both.

Both franchise's boast relatively standard average points returns, however, the Bulls' 103.4 is coupled with a 3.6 plus/minus, whilst the Timberwolves' 104.2 is instead partnered with a -2.0 plus/minus.

Previous Matchups

This will be Dwyane Wade's first game against the Timberwolves as a Bulls player. | AP Photo

Minnesota and Chicago have only played 51 times against each other in the regular season, due to the former having only been founded in 1989.

But despite the contrast in history between the two franchises, the results are relatively even, with 30 wins going in favor of the Bulls and 21 going to the Timberwolves.

But since the turn of the 21st century, Minnesota have been the stronger side, and are currently on a run of two wins against tonight's hosts, meaning they swept the series last season.

However, it took 17 games against the Bulls for the Timberwolves to finally beat the six-time champions, with Chicago going on an eight-year hot-streak against Minnesota.

Between December 1999 and December 2003, the T-Wolves went on a run of ten straight wins. Fortunately, since then, the results have been slightly less predictable, albeit a seven-game winning streak for the Bulls ending in 2013.

Key players and injuries

Karl-Anthony Towns is one of three Timberwolves players to have averaged 20+ points per game, despite the side's poor record. | USA TODAY Sports

Whilst the court will be littered with both experienced and young talent tonight, it looks like it could be determined by the better performing small forward.

The side's small foward's, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins, lead their respective team's in terms of points averages. The former has sunk an impressive 25.6, whilst the 21-year-old Wiggins is shooting a solid 22.2.

Despite their poor record, the Timberwolves do in fact have three players averaging 20 points so far this season, and all three are 21 and under. Zach LaVine (20.4) and Karl-Anthony Towns (21.6) are the others members of the young trio. The latter is also leading the side on rebounds (10.8) and blocks (1.4).

Meanwhile, the experienced Dwyane Wade has enjoyed a stellar start to life in his hometown, with 20.2 ppg and a solid 20.7 player efficiency rating.

Only two players are doubtful for the matchup. Rajon Rondo is considered touch-and-go right up to tip-off after tweaking his ankle in Monday's practice.

For the Timberwolves, Nemanja Bjelica is doubtful, having missed both of his side's last two games. He's averaged seven points per game this season.

Tip-off is 7:00 p.m. C.T.

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