A five-game road trip awaits the Minnesota Timberwolves, beginning with Tuesday’s visit to the Chicago Bulls.
Considering the way Anthony Edwards is clicking, the Timberwolves like their chances to meet or surpass the 4-1 mark from their last five-game trip in November.
Edwards helped the Timberwolves rebound from a narrow loss to Orlando by scoring 22 of his 32 points in the third quarter of Sunday’s 111-90 home win against Houston.
“I love when he’s attacking the rim, putting a lot of pressure, drawing fouls, and then, once he does that, it opens up his 3-point shot,” teammate Rudy Gobert said. “I thought he did a great job just shooting the 3s instead of shooting the 2s.
“When he does that, first of all, I feel like he makes them at a higher clip, and three points is better than two.”
More total points and rebounds beat the alternative, too, as Gobert (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Karl-Anthony Towns (14 points, 10 rebounds) showed while tallying double-doubles versus the Rockets.
Minnesota enters Tuesday tied with Oklahoma City for the best record in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves’ surge has come behind a renewed focus on effort.
“We made an emphasis on moving our bodies more,” Minnesota’s Mike Conley said. “Trying to cut for each other, trying to run faster, crash the boards harder.”
Chicago is seeking to build momentum before a four-game road trip heading into the All-Star break.
The Bulls have lost four of six. After trailing visiting Sacramento by as many as 30 in the third quarter on Saturday, Chicago rallied to within three with 59 seconds to play. The Kings scored the final five points on the way to a 123-115 win.
With Zach LaVine (right foot) set to undergo season-ending surgery this week and Patrick Williams and Dalen Terry also sidelined, the Bulls are aiming to stay upbeat and afloat.
Coby White led Chicago with 26 points against Sacramento, Nikola Vucevic posted a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan contributed 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
“The guys in here compete. I have the most confidence we can go out there and compete with anybody; we’ve shown it,” DeRozan said. “It (stinks) we’ve played with so many injuries, especially now hearing Zach is out for season, losing Patrick for a couple of (more) weeks. It was good to get (Torrey Craig) back tonight.
“For where we’re at, for what we’ve been through, for the way we started, it gives me the utmost confidence in this group of guys that we can go out there and play against anybody.”
Tuesday marks the first of two meetings between the Bulls and Timberwolves this season. The teams are set to play March 31 at Minnesota.
Chicago and Minnesota split the season series in 2022-23, with each securing a victory on its home floor. The Bulls carry a four-game home winning streak in the series, their strongest such run against the Timberwolves since capturing nine straight home victories between the 1989-90 and 1997-98 seasons.
DeRozan averaged 39 points against Minnesota last season. Vucevic has averaged 23.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and five assists in his past five outings versus the Timberwolves.
–Field Level Media
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