The Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves square off on Saturday night at the United Center in a game between two teams both missing their star player. But even with Derrick Rose and Kevin Love out of the lineup, the Bulls and Timberwolves have managed solid starts to the season.
While Chicago lost a tough one on Thursday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bulls are still 3-2 thanks to their typically strong defense. The Bulls are fifth in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing just 90.4 points per game. The offense has naturally struggled at times in Rose's absence, but Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton have helped pick up some of the slack.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has gotten off to a surprising 4-1 and are winners of three straight. Making their start all the more improbable is the fact that dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio is also out along with Love. But like the Bulls, the Timberwolves have also been excellent defensively, giving up 90.0 points per game. Offensively, Nikola Pekovic leads the team in scoring at 13.8 points per game.
Minnesota will likely be without J.J. Barea on Saturday due to a sprained foot, while Brandon Roy is questionable with a knee injury.
Chicago has won five straight games in the series. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT and will be televised on WGN.