After missing the first half of the season with a knee injury, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Randy Foye wanted to help his team beat the Chicago Bulls in his season debut. He won’t have to wait long to get his second chance.
One night after their first meeting, the Timberwolves and Bulls wrap up their season series Wednesday when the home-and-home set shifts to Minnesota.
Chicago (18-26) defeated the Timberwolves 96-85 on Tuesday at the United Center, spoiling Foye’s return from a stress reaction in his left kneecap.
“I just wanted to get a win tonight,” Foye said.
Foye entered the game with 4:16 left in the first quarter, and finished with 11 points in 17 minutes.
“It’s going to take awhile,” said Foye, who suffered the injury in summer league. “I’m not expecting to come out and score 50 points, shut someone down. … Whatever time (coach Randy Wittman) gives me, I’m going to play as hard as I can.”
Foye averaged 10.1 points, 2.8 assists and 22.9 minutes while playing all 82 games last season, earning him a spot on the NBA all-rookie team. He was expected to be a key part of Minnesota’s offense following an offseason overhaul which saw star Kevin Garnett traded to Boston.
Without Garnett and Foye in the lineup, the Timberwolves (8-36) have stumbled to the worst record in the NBA.
This contest opens a five-game homestand for the Timberwolves, who play 10 of their next 11 at the Target Center. They have won their last two home games after starting the season 4-14 there.
Chicago has lost two straight in Minnesota, and eight of its last nine visits. The Bulls have also had little success on the road anywhere lately, losing three of their last four away from the United Center.
Chicago was again without Ben Gordon (sprained right wrist) and Luol Deng (left Achilles’ tendinitis) on Tuesday. Gordon has missed four straight games but could return for this contest, while Deng isn’t expected to return for at least another week.
Kirk Hinrich missed 11 of his first 12 shots Tuesday, but made seven of his last eight to finish with 27 points. He is averaging 27.5 points - more than double his season average - in his last four games.
“I felt like I was getting good looks, being aggressive,” said Hinrich, who is averaging 21.6 points and 9.2 assists in his last five games against the Timberwolves. “I just wasn’t quite getting my legs underneath me on my shots and on my drives. So I was just trying to make a conscious effort of playing through fatigue and trying to get the job done.”
The Bulls are 3-8 when playing on consecutive nights, but have won their last two games in such situations. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are 0-10 in the second of back-to-back games this season.