Suddenly, the Timberwolves have lost five of their past six games, and Sunday’s matinee against the Chicago Bulls could continue the Wolves’ recent cold streak.
On the heels of an embarrassing blowout home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, the Wolves will tip-off the fifth game of their six-game homestand at 2:30 p.m. Central Time on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls.
The last time that head coach Tom Thibodeau faced off against his former team, it started ugly but ended favorably for his new squad. Back on December 13th, the Wolves started the game by putting themselves in a 26-6 hole before storming back over the middle stages of the game and eventually prevailing by a final score of 99-94.
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Zach LaVine led the scoring with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting while Andrew Wiggins had 23 on on 17 shots but pulled down nine rebounds. Karl-Anthony Towns chipped in 16 points (on 6-for-21 shooting, however) and 12 boards.
The Bulls look a bit different than they did back then. A couple of games above the .500-mark in mid-December, Chicago is now 26-28 on the year. There’s also a solid chance that both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade miss this game due to injury.
Minnesota has struggled recently, although Towns’ hot streak has continued from January into February. Wiggins has been more up-and-down, as has the Wolves bench. After LaVine’s injury knocked him out for the season, Ricky Rubio has stepped up in a big way, and Minnesota will need the likes of Shabazz Muhammad and Nemanja Bjelica to perform with more consistency if they want to end this rough patch.
Something else to keep an eye on in this one is the start time. Matinee games often find one (or both) teams coming out flat. Last time the Wolves faced this challenge was about a month ago in Dallas and were embarrassed by a bad Mavericks team. Thibodeau will need to get his team up for this challenge, as a losing skid + matinee + long home stretch + mediocore opponent could lead to peak flatness, if you will.