(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Timberwolves are off to a hot start at 4-1
and will begin a quick road trip Saturday against the Chicago Bulls.
The Timberwolves also will visit Dallas on the road swing and are in the midst
of their best start since a 6-0 run to begin the 2001-02 campaign.
Even with Kevin Love (hand) and Ricky Rubio (knee) sidelined, Minnesota
punched home a 96-94 victory versus Indiana, winning for a third straight time
since splitting the first two games of the new season.
Chase Budinger deposited the game-winning basket in the waning moments of the
game and posted a team-best 18 points off the bench. Derrick Williams tallied
15 points and Nikola Pekovic totaled 13 points and eight rebounds, while
Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham added 11 points apiece in reserve roles.
"We're a very deep team," said Budinger. "A lot of guys are stepping up with
guys getting hurt and going down. Each and every game it seems like there is a
new guy stepping up for this team, and that's what we need to win."
The Timberwolves bench outscored the Pacers' reserves, 48-25. Minnesota also
shot 50 percent for the game. Wolves guard Brandon Roy did not play in the
second half due to a sore right knee. Roy is making a comeback after knee
issues derailed his career in Portland.
Wolves point guard JJ Barea is expected to miss a second straight game with a
sprained left foot.
The Bulls are looking to rebound from a late collapse against the Oklahoma
City Thunder Thursday night. The Bulls fell, 97-91, thanks in large part to
Kevin Durant's fourth-quarter performance.
"We felt we should have won that game," said Taj Gibson. "(Even though) we
don't have Derrick we feel we can compete at a high level. A couple of plays
hurt us. We gave up too many points in the fourth quarter. We know we're
better than that."
Luol Deng paced the Bulls Thursday with 27 points and his fellow frontcourt
starters, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, combined for 18 points and 24
rebounds. Rip Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich both had double-figures, but each
starter played over 30 minutes and the bench only chipped in 14 points.
The 97 points scored by the Thunder was the most the Bulls allowed all season.
Chicago ranks in the top 10 in the league in points allowed and opponent's
This is the third of four straight at home for the Bulls. They opened the
season with six out of seven at the United Center before a five-game road
The Bulls have won the last five meetings with the T-Wolves, although
Minnesota captured five of the six before Chicago's winning streak.
The Sports Network