Bulls fend off Wolves in exhibition, 114-105
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — E’Twaun Moore scored 18 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 114-105 preseason victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
The big attraction, however was Canada native and reigning NBA rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins, who had nine points in 24 minutes for the Timberwolves.
Wiggins received the loudest cheer when the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft was introduced to the sold-out crowd of 15,294 at MTS Centre, many sporting shirts with his No. 22.
Tyus Jones had 18 points for the Timberwolves.
The last NBA game in Winnipeg in 2012 also drew a packed house.
The teams crossed the border as part of this year’s Canada Series. Five NBA teams are playing four exhibition games in cities that don’t have teams — Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal.
Wiggins, 20, is considered a role model for the next wave of aspiring Canadian professional basketball players. It’s a distinction the Vaughan, Ontario native doesn’t mind.
"I’m fine with that. I feel that I carry myself pretty well," Wiggins said after the Saturday morning shootaround.
"I do things off the court, on the court, to help the people around me. I like to give hope, create opportunity for others."
The red jerseys of the Bulls were also peppered throughout the crowd, with fans loudly cheering as they took a 22-point lead with just over 9 minutes left in the second quarter.
Minnesota closed the gap to 65-55 at halftime and made it a six-point deficit with just over 4 minutes left in the game before Chicago pulled away.
The preseason has been extra special for Wiggins as he’s been playing with his older brother, Nick, who signed with Minnesota last month.
The 24-year-old, who played in the final 90 seconds, said he’s proud of his brother’s impact on the game.
"With Andrew being the No. 1 pick and the year before (Canadian) Anthony Bennett being the No. 1 pick, you can see a lot of uprising," said Nick, a guard who’s played in Germany and with NBA teams in development and summer leagues.
"Kids are just starting to believe in themselves, that they can compete with kids across the border."
The Timberwolves play the Toronto Raptors in Ottawa on Wednesday. The Canadian Series wraps up Oct. 23 in Montreal with a game between the Raptors and Washington Wizards.