[8:08 PM] Timberwolves @ Bulls

Who will WIN this matchup?

Minnesota Timberwolves (6-18)

@ Chicago Bulls (13-10)


The line for this game is Bulls by 6.5 points.

Tom Thibodeau returns to Chicago for the first time as a visiting head coach when the Minnesota Timberwolves tangle with the Bulls on Tuesday. Thibodeau went 255-139 and coached the Bulls into the playoffs in each of his five seasons but his relationship with upper management soured and he was fired following the 2014-15 campaign and replaced by Fred Hoiberg.

Thibodeau has big-time building blocks in small forward Andrew Wiggins and center Karl-Anthony Towns — the past two NBA Rookies of the Year — and an athletic wild-card in combo guard Zach LaVine, who scored 25 or more points in six of the last 11 games after making five 3-pointers and scoring 25 in Sunday’s 116-108 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Wiggins and Towns (18 rebounds) also scored 25 points on Sunday but the Timberwolves were outscored 38-20 in the fourth quarter as a 10-point lead turned into a disappointing defeat.

Jimmy Butler began his ascent toward the star level while being coach by Thibodeau and has nothing but admiration for his former coach, who was an assistant on the gold medal-winning USA basketball that Butler played for in the summer. Butler averaged just 8.5 minutes of playing time in 42 games as a rookie in 2011-12, became a full-fledged starter in 2013-14 and is averaging a career-best 25.6 points this season.

The Timberwolves won both of last season’s meetings after the Bulls won 10 of the previous 11 matchups.

Chicago SG Dwyane Wade scored 28 points in Saturday’s victory over Miami — his former team — and is averaging 25.3 points over the past four games.

Wiggins scored 25 or more points in three of the past five games and Towns has done so in three of the last seven contests.


StreakSmarts Pick: Chicago Bulls

Confidence: 6/10

StreakSmarter Pick