Chicago Bulls at Minnesota Timberwolves
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA League Pass)
Spread: MIN -3.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a glut of exciting young talent, but perhaps the time is not yet. The Wolves have won just three of its past 10 games, yet find itself favored tonight by 3.5 points against the middling Chicago Bulls. The game will air at 7 Central on NBA League Pass.
Chicago has won just four of its past 10 games, and perhaps this trend was a bit predictable. The Bulls possess the smallest point differential of any Eastern Conference playoff team (of the eight in position thus far). Chicago averages 101.6 points per game but surrenders 101.3, good for a win differential of just +0.3.
The Bulls have also lost three of its past four games, and it fell last night to the Denver Nuggets 115-110. Jimmy Butler returned to action but saw just 18 minutes in the game (scoring 19 on 6 of 8 shooting in that short span). Derrick Rose picked up the slack with 30 points on 13 of 27 shooting while nearly accomplishing a triple-double with eight assists and nine rebounds in the game.
It was not enough to stop the Nuggets though who got 33 points from Danilo Gallinari as the forward shot 18 of 18 from the free throw line and Denver attempted 44 free throws as a team in the game. The Nuggets also held a +8 advantage on the glass.
The Bulls had just snapped a two-game skid prior to last night’s loss with a 107-102 win over the Sacramento Kings last night. E’twaun Moore scored a career high 24 points on 9 of 16 shooting, and
Derrick Rose had 21 points as the Bulls shot 45 percent from the floor in the game and 11 of 21 from three point range. Moore in particular was 4 of 5 from downtown, and he started because Jimmy Butler missed the game with knee tendinitis. Nikola Mirotic also missed the game with appendicitis.
Butler has averaged 22.4 points per game this season and remains Chicago’s most dangerous offensive threat.
Prior to going down, Butler had averaged 24.5 points, four rebounds and three assists in the Bulls previous two games. Butler shoots 47 percent from the field in Bulls’ wins, but he is good for just 43.9 percent shooting in the Bulls’ 21 losses. The trend held true in the loss to the Clippers on Jan 31, as he shot just 8 of 22 from the field and the Bulls lost by 27. The Bulls will hope it can get Butler more minutes tonight as he rounds back into form.
The Wolves got a somewhat rare win 108-102 over the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night to snap a five-game skid the team was on. It ended a 14-game losing streak that the Wolves had against the Clippers at Staples Center. Andrew Wiggins looked like the star he is quickly becoming, scoring 31 points on 12 of 21 shooting in the game. Karl-Anthony Towns had another double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Zach LaVine poured in another good night off the bench with 17 points, three assists and four rebounds.
The Wolves are not short of talent, but it is short of court spacing. Minnesota averages just 5.0 threes per game while shooting 32.4 percent from deep as a team. It impacts the team’s overall offensive potential and Minnesota does average just 99.9 points per game.
More problematic than that is the fact that Minnesota is surrendering 103.7 points per game, and Chicago’s offense has been strong enough to exploit that. The Wolves are 10-15 at home this season, though and will enjoy a night as the favorite, albeit just 3.5 point favorites at that.