By Nate Gotlieb
While the Minnesota Timberwolves won’t make the playoffs this season, the Bulls aren’t overlooking their recent success.
Minnesota (39-38) has won three of its past four games, including a victory in Miami and a home win over San Antonio on Tuesday.
Timberwolves rookie center Gorgui Dieng scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and All-Star forward Kevin Love scored 19 points as Minnesota defeated San Antonio, 110-91.
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“They play at a great pace, bring you down off the dribble,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said at the team shootaround Wednesday morning. “Love can really spread you out because of his skill set. Dieng has played incredibly well. Their bench has played well, so we have to be ready.”
Noah key in Bulls streak
Bulls forward Joakim Noah has been key in the team’s current five-game winning streak. He has averaged 14.8 points per game during that stretch, including 21 points against the Wizards on Saturday.
Noah is averaging over 12.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in 75 games this season, which are both career-highs. He’s also leading the Bulls in assists this season with 5.2 per game.
“He’s been terrific, and it’s not only the passing part, but it’s his scoring part, his decision making,” Thibodeau said. “He’s gotten a lot more comfortable scoring the ball too, so teams that are sitting on his passes, now he has to be played honestly.”
United States basketball coming to Chicago
This summer the United States men’s national basketball team will play an exhibition game in Chicago before the FIBA World Cup in August, the team announced Wednesday.
Thibodeau, an assistant coach for Team USA., said he is excited for the opportunity to play in Chicago and that he hopes injured guard Derrick Rose will be ready to play.
“Chicago is such a great basketball city,” he said. “It’s great for everybody. Great for our city, great for our fans, great for USA basketball, so I’m excited to hear that.”