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Wolves meet Bulls in Missouri, defeat Chicago 113-112

The final preseason game for both teams came down to the game's final minute.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves met the Chicago Bulls in St. Louis Missouri on Friday. The affair was televised, but only on the Chicago Sports Network. If you live in Minnesota and are concerned you missed it; you didn't, unless you watched it on league pass or streamed the game online.

Prior to the game, Flip Saunders determined Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad were not going to play. Ricky Rubio started aside Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Thaddeus Young and Nikola Pekovic. Moreover, the Bulls trotted out- ho-hum -Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavey, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.

The Wolves schemed to run the three-quarters court trap after made baskets. This was supposed to put pressure on the Bulls offense, but it was ineffective. Heinrich and Rose are both capable ball handlers who are accustomed to playing point guard. Saunders went back to a man defense before halftime after seeing the trap didn't offer much resistance.

Rubio attempted more field goals than any of his teammates. He made 8 of 13 field goal attempts; led the team in scoring, grabbed two rebounds and contributed five assists. Not only was Rubio attacking the basket, he was forcing the issue, taking jump shots that make fans flinch and, surprisingly, most of them went in - including buzzer-beating field goals at the end of the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

  • The 12 players who entered the game for the Wolves each scored at least two points.
  • Turnovers: Chicago-18, Minnesota-15
  • Steals: Chicago-5, Minnesota-11
  • Rebounds: Chicago-50, Minnesota-38
Noah and Gasol tallied 26 rebounds while Rose, Hinrich, Dunleavy and Taj Gibson accounted for 72 of the Bulls 112 points. The Wolves depth was just too much to overcome. I'm hesitant to call it organized chaos. However, their tenacious, aggressive playing style is causing turnovers and, because Rubio, JJ Barea and Mo Williams took good care of the ball, turnovers may have been the deciding factor against the Bulls.

The deciding moments of Friday's game were decided by, shockingly, the Wolves bench. Young was the only member of the starting lineup to play at all during the final frame, all of a measly 1:41. Barea and Anthony Bennett each scored nine while Zach LaVine added six points and the Wolves escaped the preseason finale with a victory in exciting fashion, sealing the victory at the free throw line in the game's final minute.

The Wolves fly home tonight. Saunders and General Manager Milt Newton will have until 4PM on Monday to decide which 15 players will make the final roster.

It was a good game. There were some encouraging performances. It was not without flaw. Assuming I find a download or replay of the game, I will post some more observations tomorrow.