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Mar 30, 2024 6:16 pm

High-flying Timberwolves try to continue push vs. Bulls

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The Minnesota Timberwolves will go for their fifth win in a row when they face the Chicago Bulls on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota (51-22) is coming off a 111-98 win on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

The victory pulled the Timberwolves even with the Oklahoma City Thunder and moved them a half-game in front of the Nuggets for the top spot in the Western Conference standings.

Meanwhile, Chicago (35-39) is looking to bounce back from a 125-108 loss on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. The Bulls have lost four of their past five games and hold a half-game lead over the Atlanta Hawks for ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Timberwolves enter the game teeming with confidence.

After the win over Denver, Minnesota forward Jaden McDaniels said he and his teammates could compete against any team in the league.

“They’re the defending champs, but we’ve got all the pieces,” McDaniels said. “Everyone on our team is versatile and can guard 1 through 4, 1 through 5. It’s a good matchup for us, but I think we’re the better team.”

Minnesota coach Chris Finch opted to focus on the next game instead of reflecting too much on the win over Denver. Finch was asked whether the Timberwolves were playing their best basketball with nine games to play.

“I think we’re getting there,” Finch said. “We’ve just got to keep doing it every night.”

Anthony Edwards leads the Timberwolves with 26.2 points per game. He is shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Rudy Gobert is averaging a double-double for Minnesota with 13.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. Naz Reid is averaging 13.1 points and has taken on a more prominent role with Karl-Anthony Towns out because of a knee injury.

Chicago is led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan, who is averaging 23.4 points. Coby White (19.3 points per game) and Nikola Vucevic (18.0) also provide much of the offense for the Bulls, who are without Zach LaVine as he recovers from foot surgery.

DeRozan said he and his teammates needed to play hard for a full game. He shared some of his frustrations after the Bulls’ latest loss against Brooklyn.

“We just talk about (playing) hard for 48 minutes,” DeRozan said. “More so than anything, (we need to) compete a full game and not put ourselves in a hole to make things difficult for us.

“From my standpoint, I always stress that we’ve got to be playing the right way, 48 minutes, and playing together.”

This will be the second and final meeting of the regular season between the teams. The Bulls outlasted the Timberwolves for a 129-123 overtime win Feb. 6 in Chicago.

DeRozan and White scored 33 points apiece for the Bulls in their win over Minnesota. Vucevic added 24 points and made 10 of 16 shots from the floor.

Edwards scored 38 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves in the teams’ first matchup. Gobert also notched a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Minnesota is 26-9 at home this season. Chicago is 16-20 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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