The Bulls came into Boston tonight and gave Tom Thibodeau his first win versus his old club. Very similar to Tuesday night's win versus Minnesota where the Bulls gave up a big lead and then grinded it out to win the game. In another nationally televised game, I'm not going to dwell on the lost 20 point lead but how the Bulls maintained composure and dominated in the final minutes. I forgot the most important part of the game, Joakim Noah took a big step tonight.
- Joakim Noah's Finest Game this Season - Jo's stats: 10 points - 12 rebounds - 4 blocks - 39 minutes. This is a type of game people were clamoring to give Noah an All-Star nod last year. By playing all but 1:30 minutes of the 4th Quarter, Noah's presence in the paint played a large role into stopping the Celtics' comeback. Fighting for boards, loose balls, and most importantly giving the type of energy the Bulls need, that's the Joakim Noah Chicago has come to know and love. This is a significant step to Noah's regaining his form and I expect it to roll over to tomorrow's game versus Toronto.
- Rose Wasn't Spectacular But Made Clutch Shots - Shooting 9 for 21, Derrick Rose didn't give a spectacular performance but his clutch plays pushed the Bulls to victory tonight. The Celtics gave the Bulls more zone looks in the 2nd half and Rose was able to punish them by hitting 2 3 point FGs to stop Boston runs.
- Luol Deng Deserves the 2nd Star of the Game - In typical Luol Deng fashion, he was able to produce numbers on a stat sheet that makes even the above average Bulls fan says out loud, "He did that?!?!" 21 points and 16 rebounds, Luol Deng played like an All-Star. Coming into tonight's game, Deng was 7th amongst East forwards in All-Star votes. Although Deng may produce All-Star type stats, his play is overlooked because his game has no flash whatsoever. That's fine for us Chicagoans. Just win enough games for Tom Thibodeau to have the right to coach the East All-Stars and if he's smart, he'll place Deng alongside Rose in Orlando this February over Amare Stoudamire (3rd), Kevin Garnett (4th), Chris Bosh (5th), and Paul Pierce (6th).
Don't be too concerned with the 20 point loss but be encouraged that Joakim Noah had his strongest game of the season and mos importantly, the Bulls keep showing the NBA they are the best TEAM in the league. So far, the Bulls haven't wavered in adversity but as a matter of fact, gotten stronger during it.
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