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Bulls vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: TWolves without Rubio and Love, but at 4-1


[ed. note: If you're interested in tickets tonight, make sure to check out our partners at TiqIQ for Chicago Bulls Tickets]

Nobody signed up for a game preview, for shame. I don't want to give positive reinforcement for your apathy by making my own outstanding preview. But it'll be functional. Functional!

The Bulls played hard, but lost on Thursday against the Thunder. The idea of staying in a close game only to get 'superstarred' like the late damage Kevin Durant inflicted probably won't be that rare. But there were other issues than just the lack of a closer, namely not being able to count on bench production or Boozer. On the other hand, both Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng (whose sprained thumb won't keep out tonight) had very productive nights. While the Bulls like to claim they have a lot of options to replace Derrick Rose, it'll be the case where nearly always it'll be some on and some off. Wonder who it'll be tonight?

Canis Hoopus looks at the Pekovic vs. Noah matchup as key for their TWolves, as Pek is a beast and Noah's defense can suffer against the biggest of frontcourt players.

Around the perimeter, the Wolves did a great job in the offseason of replacing some truly dreadful minutes with competent players. So while both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are currently out, new additions like Russian imports like Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved make a difference.

But even beyond their stars being out, the Wolves have a lot stacked against them. JJ Barea and possibly Brandon Roy will also miss the game, and they just fought out a home victory over Indiana 24 hours ago, which culminated with this nice play from Kirilenko to (fellow new teammate) Chase Budinger:

The Wolves have a decent rotation still, are well-coached, and could pose a threat. But they're also on a back-to-back, so the Bulls can take the effort advantage which is always key.

I'll be at the United Center tonight, so I don't have to hear Neil Funk struggle to recognize (and pronounce) all those foreign names!