Chicago and Toronto are locked in an intriguing battle of the third and fourth seeds in the Eastern Conference.
Currently tied for third, both teams are in action tonight with Toronto hosting the Philadelphia 76ers, a game one would imagine they will coast to victory.
The battle is particularly intriguing given the struggles of the current second-seeded Indiana Pacers. Both of these teams will feel they have a chance to knock off the Pacers if they meet in the second round.
Circling back to tonight’s game, the Bulls can record a season-best sixth consecutive victory against a team that has knocked off three playoff-bound teams in it’s last four games.
The Bulls have only played one team over .500 during this five-game streak.
Chicago’s point differential over the stretch has been an insane +15.8, allowing teams to score just 85.0 points per game while themselves scoring an abnormally high 100.8 per contest.
The game should see the re-debut of shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, an original member of the Bench Mob created after Tom Thibodeau’s first summer in the job. Brewer was utilised for his strong defense, though his offensive game left him a liability at times.
D.J. Augustin will again seek to prove the Raptors wrong for cutting him in December as he has averaged 14.6 points with his new team.
Joakim Noah’s push to be named to an All-NBA team as well as the All-Defensive team continues in earnest. Noah sat out the last meeting between the two teams – a 95-86 loss at the United Center.
The Timberwolves will likely be without Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic, leaving their starting lineup a little cloudy.
PG: Kirk Hinrich, 11th season. 9.0 points per game, 3.9 assists per game.
SG: Jimmy Butler, 3rd season. 13.1 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game.
SF: Mike Dunleavy, 12th season. 11.1 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game.
PF: Carlos Boozer, 11th season. 13.8 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game.
C: Joakim Noah, 7th season. 12.5 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game.
PG: Ricky Rubio, 3rd season. 9.4 points per game, 8.6 assists per game.
SG: Robbie Hummel, 1st season. 3.8 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game.
SF: Corey Brewer, 7th season. 11.8 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game.
PF: Kevin Love, 6th season. 25.9 points per game, 12.6 rebounds per game.
C: Gorgui Dieng, 1st season. 4.1 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game.