Last season, Derrick Rose continued the tradition of non-worthy MVPs, which includes every MVP other than Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.
Minnesota Timberwolves (10-0) vs. Chicago Bulls (8-2) at Target Center
In the final game of the Wolves' first back-to-back-to-back of the season, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are in town. The Bulls are coming off of a 24-point win over the Detroit Pistons in which both Rose and Carlos Boozer scored over 20 points, despite Luol Deng's 2-of-12 performance.
The Wolves, meanwhile, are coming off of a tough moral victory over the Toronto Raptors that saw the Wolves' starters combine for a -95 +/ and their reserves combine for a +45. Kevin Love was able to get his 9th double-double of the season, but was only 3-of-16 from the floor (1-of-12 inside the arc). Love is second in the NBA in minutes per game at 39.1 (Monta Ellis has played 39.4 per game) and he appeared a little tired last night.
We'll see if he can get his legs back and his shot back tonight against the Bulls. Let's break down the matchups below the fold:
A still from the upcoming movie, "The Muppets Take Chicago".
A few per-36 stats for you.
Joakim Noah: 10.1 pts, 10.3 rebs, 1.4 blks, 2.6 turnovers while shooting .381 from the floor.
Darko Milicic: 11.9 pts, 9.1 rebs, 1.6 blks, 2.6 turnovers while shooting .471 from the floor.
There have frequently been complaints from Canis Hoopus and from other Wolves' fans that Corey Brewer was selected over Joakim Noah in the NBA Draft. Good news, because it looks like Darko is a similar - yet more effective - player than Noah anyway. The grass is always greener, I guess.
Winner: Darko Milicic
Carlos Boozer was born in Germany, went to high school in Alaska, went to college in North Carolina and started his NBA career in Ohio. He has been very efficient at spreading his inefficiency all over the globe.
Kevin Love vs. Carlos Boozer
It is kind of a tragedy that Carlos Boozer will be paid more than twice as much as Derrick Rose this season. It is also a tragedy that, if the Bulls had decided to sign a more effective power forward, they might have beaten the Miami Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Finals. Fortunately for Minnesota, Boozer is still in the lineup and will give the Wolves a much better chance of a blowout tonight.
Love, even when he is tired and not as effective, is still a double-double player who is better than 90% of the power forwards in the league, including Boozer. Hopefully, we'll also see a lot of Derrick Williams at power forward tonight giving Love a breather and dunking on Boozer's head.
Winner: Carlos Boozer
Little known fact: Deng was actually born in Mississippi and his name is really spelled Lou Al Dange.
Wesley Johnson vs. Luol Deng
Last night against the Toronto Raptors, Wesley Johnson had one of his patented performances: 0 points on 0-5 shooting. 2 turnovers. 1 rebound. 0 free throw attempts. Apparently, there is no free agent or D-League player who can match that level of production, and Wes still deserves a spot in the rotation and the starting lineup.
You know who else can't match that level of production?
Winner: Wesley Johnson
Actual quote from Ronnie Brewer's Wikipedia page: "Brewer is known for having an unorthodox shooting technique, the result of a childhood water slide injury." No joke necessary on that one.
Wayne Ellington vs. Ronnie Brewer
Ronnie Brewer is a career 25% three-point shooter, but he is 6-of-8 this season, and has continued to provide a defensive presence for Chicago. The Bulls have also signed Richard Hamilton to provide a veteran presence and some better offensive production.
In other words, together, Brewer and Hamilton are almost as good as Wayne Ellington. Thanks to injuries and the fact that David Kahn is currently locked in his office with the phone lines cut, Ellington has become the Wolves' starting shooting guard. Luckily, he hasn't disappointed.
Winner: Wayne Ellington
Despite his record, Rose will not be able to escape the shadow of Ricky Rubio tonight.
Ricky Rubio vs. Derrick Rose
I know that Rick Adelman has earned a long leash given his track record. It would be nice, though, if he would recognize that his decision to start Luke Ridnour, Darko Milicic and Wesley Johnson almost always puts the Wolves down big early on and makes it necessary for Rubio to engineer a comeback every time he's inserted into the game.
Ricky Rubio is not human, but if he were, he would probably get worn down and his play would suffer as a result. There is bringing a guy along slowly, and then there is just being stubborn. Start Rubio, build a lead in the 1st quarter, and watch the wins pour in.
Winner: Ricky Rubio
Tom Thibodeau just called Miss Cleo's Psychic Hotline and found out that the Bulls will only lose by 10 tonight. Congratulations, Bulls fans.
My Prediction: Timberwolves 95 - Chicago Bulls 85
Timberwolves' Record: 10-0