Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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NBA Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves (35-35) at Chicago Bulls (31-37)

When the Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls meet on Friday in Chicago, they are both coming off close losses and are getting ready to deal with their individual frustrations.

Minnesota (35-35) will try to find a way forward in a tight Western Conference playoff picture, while Chicago (31-37) will try to stay in the running for an Eastern Conference play-in tournament spot.

The Timberwolves reduced their deficit to two points with 4:03 remaining after trailing Boston, who was in town, by 14 points in the third quarter. However, they were unable to get any closer. The Timberwolves won the game by a score of 104-102 thanks to Mike Conley’s last-second 3-pointer.

During the game, the referees gave Minnesota four technical fouls, including two against Anthony Edwards and Kyle Anderson in the final minutes after a questionable jump ball.

Edwards contributed 28 points and 10 rebounds to keep Minnesota in the game.

Following a three-game winning streak, Minnesota has lost three of its last four games, losing each one at home. The Timberwolves were in seventh place in the Western Conference going into NBA play on Thursday, one game behind the Golden State Warriors.

The Timberwolves begin a three-game road trip on Friday and will play six of their next seven games away from the Twin Cities. This season, Minnesota is 15-18 on the road, but it enters play with a four-game winning streak on the road. Monday’s 136-115 rout of East playoff hopeful Atlanta marked the most recent away victory.

With their 117-114 defeat of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, the Bulls fell one half game behind Washington in the race for the final East play-in tournament spot. With 0.7 seconds remaining, the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox hit a 3-pointer to hand Chicago its third defeat in five games.

The Bulls, who were without Alex Caruso due to a non-COVID illness, were led by Zach LaVine, who scored 25 points, and Nikola Vucevic, who scored 20.

LaVine missed his initial six shots of the game to complete 7-for-22 from the floor. LaVine’s field goal percentage was below 50% for the second time in nine games since the All-Star break.

Minnesota is the opponent of Chicago’s three-game home winning streak. The Timberwolves have won six of the last ten games in the series, including a rout at home on December 18 by a score of 150-126. DeRozan led Chicago with 29 points, while Edwards had 37 points and 11 assists.

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