Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/10/12
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls both entered this season without their top player.While the Bulls have looked pedestrian at times without Derrick Rose, the surging Timberwolves have more than held their own despite Kevin Love's absence.Minnesota tries to extend its best start in 11 seasons Saturday night when it visits the Bulls, winners of five straight in this series.Though many expected the Timberwolves to stumble as Love worked his way back from a broken right hand, coach Rick Adelman's team has proven to be one of this season's biggest surprises in getting off to a 4-1 start.Minnesota turned heads again Friday, pulling out a thrilling 96-94 win over Indiana on Chase Budinger's layup with 0.8 seconds to go. The Timberwolves, off to their best start since opening a franchise-best 6-0 in 2001-02, have posted three straight victories to match their longest streak from last season.Budinger finished with 18 points Friday while Derrick Williams scored 15 for Minnesota, which last won four in a row Jan. 29-Feb. 6, 2010.In addition to Love, the Timberwolves continue to play without Ricky Rubio (torn ACL). Fellow point guard J.J. Barea is expected to miss a second straight game with a sprained left foot.Minnesota may have suffered another big blow Friday after Brandon Roy left at halftime with a sore right knee. The veteran guard, who's attempting to come back from chronic knee troubles that caused him to retire prior to last season, is uncertain to play Saturday but plans to travel with the team."It's OK," forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "We'll still keep winning. Injuries, that don't matter. Winning is what matters."Minnesota has lost by an average of 15.8 points during its skid against Chicago, though the Bulls needed 31 from Rose in a 111-100 road win Jan. 10 in the teams' only meeting last season.Chicago opened 2-0 but has since dropped two of three, losing 97-91 to Oklahoma City on Thursday. The Bulls (3-2) were outscored 31-19 in the fourth quarter."We were right there in the game," forward Luol Deng, who scored a game-high 27 points, told the team's official website. "We've (just) got to have a better fourth quarter. That's what we've got to get back to. There's going to be a lot of those (close) games. We've just got to be tough minded to win those games in the end."Richard Hamilton had 20 points, while Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah each scored nine and combined for 24 rebounds."Derrick Rose is an unbelievable player, don't get me wrong. He is Chicago," Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said. "But those guys are great complements to him. Once one of your best players is out, guys got to step up and that's what they've been doing ever since he's been out."The Bulls, who went an Eastern Conference-best 62-12 at home over the previous two seasons, have split four games at the United Center."There's no excuses," forward Taj Gibson said. "We're a man down, but guys will have to step up. ... We got to keep grinding until he (Rose) gets back and just move forward."With Rose not expected to return anytime soon, Chicago will surely continue to rely on its superb defensive efforts. The Bulls are allowing 90.4 points per game to rank near the top of the league.No team has made fewer 3-pointers than the Bulls, who have shot 16 of 57 (28.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Julius Thomas traded to Dolphins

Joe Mixon likely to go undrafted in April?

Belichick officially updates boat’s name to ‘VII Rings’

Canseco warns humanity about robot takeover in Twitter rant

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before pitching in 2000 NLDS

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kings throw shade at Cousins in press release announcing trade

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

Russell Westbrook's beef with Kevin Durant might not be over after all

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker