Bulls at Raptors 6pm on CSN - Noah / Rose gametime decisions

The Chicago Bulls head into Toronto to face the Raptors and the big question will be Derrick Rose's effectiveness in the game assuming that he's able to play.  The Raptors are on the second game of a back to back, having lost to Charlotte in Charlotte last night, so the Bulls should be the fresher team outside of the concerns with Derrick.


Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose are both game time decisions but are both expected to play.  Rose's injury is well documented.  Noah's injury has been going on for awhile but hasn't been reported until yesterday:

Noah has been battling sore knuckles and tendons on his right hand for
weeks. He has been taping his knuckles. The Tribune reported late
Tuesday that management has held internal discussions about resting
Noah, whose situation hasn't improved. Surgery has not been ruled out, if that becomes necessary to fix the problem.

Keys to the game

Play Taj Gibson some heavy minutes

Bargnani is a stretch 5 in the Raptors lineup, so initially, you can stick either Noah or Boozer on him.   Boozer's been killed by stretch players thus far this year, but putting Noah on him takes him away from the basket mitigating one of his best strengths.  

The solution to this problem is to play Taj Gibson more as both Noah and Taj will be able to stay with Bargnani on the perimeter, defend the pick and roll, or help protect the paint.   A Noah/Taj combination gives you the combination of interior and perimeter defense you need to stop a stretch 4/5 type player while still defending the basket.

Granted, the Bulls don't want to pull Boozer out of the starting lineup, the first goal is to force the Raptors to adjust to you.  In that vein, start Noah on Bargnani and the odds are good that the Raptors can't take advantage of Boozer down low enough for it to matter anyway, but if defense becomes an issue the game plan is already set for Gibson to play some more minutes.

Find ways to attack the paint

With a healthy Derrick Rose, I'd say it was his time to shine in the paint all night long.   The Raptors defense makes swiss cheese look like the great wall of China.   If Derrick is beat up, the Bulls will need to find other ways to get into the paint which will likely include Carlos Boozer getting the ball in the post and finding Luol Deng or Ronnie Brewer on cuts to the basket.

Granted, Derrick Rose likely doesn't know the meaning of "take it easy", so he'll probably live in the paint anyway.   Given that he's just sore, if he guts out the pain he's unlikely to hurt himself further.

As Stacey would say, "KYP people!"  - Know your personnel

The Raptors don't shoot as many threes as you'd think, but you have to always be aware of Andrea Bargnani launching them behind the arc and playing off of the perimeter.   Outside of Bargnani, Barbosa, Bayless, and Kleiza will launch threes.   Everyone else will play almost entirely inside the arc.

The Raptors are low on talent and depleted by injuries so just handle the fundamentals

The Raptors have good rebounding numbers on the season, but a large part of that was Reggie Evans dominating the glass.   While Amir Johnson and Ed Davis have done a serviceable job on the glass this season, the Bulls should be able to gain the advantage on the boards with Evans out of the game.

The Raptors are also missing Jose Calderon who could run the offense and shoot the ball, and Jerryd Bayless is more prone to turning the ball over and less prone to running an NBA offense that creates looks for others.    As such, the Bulls should unleash Brewer on the Raptors backcourt to force turnovers and create easy points.

On their side, just keeping focus, not turning the ball over, boxing out, and doing the little things well should result in a win.

Final thoughts

The Raptors aren't too good to begin with, and their injuries leave them even more vulnerable.   On top of that, they're coming off a back to back.   That's a lot of stuff set against them for this game, and the only thing that would even the score is if Derrick Rose is unable to play or unable to play effectively.  

Otherwise, the  Bulls are better coached, have more talent, and should come away with a win. 


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  • The Raptors point guard has a better defensive rebounding rate than their center. How is that even possible? If you're seven feet tall you have to figure just putting your arms up the ball is going to fall into your hands sometimes ...

    Early in the season you kind of feel any road game can be a danger game, teams are not in tank mode so will still try hard, especially since in the East 9-16 still gives you a very realistic chance at the last playoff spot. Hopefully the Bulls don't let things get dicey like the Cleveland game.

  • That Weems kid has turned out to be a pretty good two guard. I wonder if Toronto would consider trading Weems and two seconds for Asik.

  • Id say in some stretches play man to man play taj at the 4 booz at the 3 and deng at the 2 if defense becomes an issue

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    boozer is not a 3, he can't guard 3's, and he's too slow to guard quicker pf's. Deng is too slow to guard the 2. taj might be able to guard a 3, but not more effectively than brewer nor deng. In terms of defense, that's a bad lineup.

    if defense is an issue rose(cj is he doesn't play) brewer deng, taj, and asik is our best lineup.

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    I want to see heavy minutes from Taj tonight. Bulls could probably even go Boozer at the 5 an Taj at the 4 tonight. Bargnani spends most of his time on the perimeter so Taj could probably handle him and then have Boozer take on whatever PF they have out there. But ya, lets take it to this team real fast. They do not have very many good players. Bayless is a nice young player though.

    Im hearing about Stephen Jackson, Courtney Lee and JR Smith. Jackson an Smith could make us really good imo. Both those guys can score at a high clip. Lee is just solid.


    Start strong...Maintain a big lead...Rest Rose and Noah for the entire 4th Qrt.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    OK, but how do the Bulls go about doing that sir?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The Bulls are a much superior talent. If they play the type of D they have been the past week they should be able to go up 15pts rather easily. then we need our bench to play even from there.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    Still, they haven't done that much this season

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The Plan, have more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game, absolutely brilliant.

  • Did anyone else see noah is playing hurt??? I knew something wasnt right with him I'd say start booz or asik at the 5 and bring in jo if it gets ugly he needs some time off and we need him against tougher teams

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    I've noticed the bandage on his hand getting bigger each game.

  • I actually heard on the Score this morning that Noah may not play tonight due to bruising of his right hand tendons. To me, this would be the perfect game to sit him. His energy has been down, if you ask me, and if his hand is injured let him just rest until Saturday. As Doug said, with Bargnani the opposing 'big man', Noah's inside D and rebounding is not as necessary as in most games. Just sayin'.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    good thought, but I am afraid that his injury will not go away with only a couple days of rest.

  • I'd like to see the bulls blow this one out so guys like Asik and JJ can get more minutes.

  • The Bulls have won what six in a row. The defense is limiting teams to low 80's ppg and around 40% shooting. So yes Boozer basically takes your non-offensive factor big down low(he can guard bigs/centers I would hope with his strength). And yes put Joakim/Taj on the fleet of foot/scoring stretch(lurch) four Barn(burner)gani.

    But as to Noah, now we hear(I know he was wearing the brace/padding in one game), but he hurt his right hand tendons against the Lakers. If that's the answer to his lower numbers then fine. And of course you feel for Noah with the other injuries he's had/had to play through.

    Still, I just wonder about his sometimes seeming lack of energy. I mean should we epect him to be a consistent force/all-star like franchise presence or not? I don't know. I guess I just wish he wouldn't do videos for ESPN saying welcome to my kicthen, and he's got "Support Hemp Growers World Wide," on his fridge, and the first thing he pulls out of there is "coconut water" which he directly points out is "great for hangovers."


    I mean come on. That has to be your dialogue in a short fan interest piece after you've already been busted with weed and drinks in your car? Isn't he supposed to be a good image for kids etc.?

    But I have to say watching the video again it is hilarious. And it makes you like Joakim Noah more not less. He's real in a phony "NBA Care's(about it's image)" propped up world. So I'm not totally banging on Jo. I know he's entitled to some adult humor/being a non-phony video presence the way so many of these NBA guys(Chris Paul and his 'Biology teacher' Mrs. Felder.' Yeah, he fu*ked her.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I understand the party animal is part of who Jo is, but I wonder about this too. Like the other night after the big Lake Show game, he voiced his displeasure with not being able to party with the T'Wolves game the next night, & that made me think, he is probably hitting the town on every night when there isn't a back-to-back. Now of course, Noah is a free man, he can do what he wants, but I certainly think that can attribute most to what's going on with his low energy games, even more so than a nagging hand injury.

    I will say this about Jo though, when the playoffs come around, he doesn't mess around. You can expect him to turn into a choir boy for those (hopefully) 2 months. Then after his season ends, you can expect him to take a nice 1-2 month vacation, enjoying life, partying his ass off.

    Bottom line, I can live with it during an 82 game season, because I know he is dependable in the playoffs.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    "yeah he f*cked her"....hilarious

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    According to Sam Smith, the Bulls had inquired about Courtney Lee, but asked for one of our 1st rounders + the Charlotte pick + Taj Gibson....wow. Probably them just not looking to trade Lee now, and the asking price coming down in a couple of months.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I find it hard to believe Houston actually asked for that given they know the Bulls would just laugh at them. I think Sam Smith is having one of his trade fantasies again where he dreams up ridiculous trade scenarios to rile fans up drive traffic.

  • One other thing, K.C. Johnson points out that Derrick is 30th in the league in free throw attempts(5.1).

    Interestingly,(to me anyway) this year unlike the last several/forever, four of the top ten scorers are small guards. Derrick, Monta Ellis, Westbrook, and Eric Gordon! Gordon averages over 10 FAT's per game while Westbrook is over 8 FTA's.

    I see a lot of games now because I have NBA league pass. And I'll tell you every one of these guys knows if they just drive into somebody, and fall down/stumble 'Oh, my god I've been shot,' Stacy King, they will get to the line. And if they pump fake and get the defender to leave his feet then just lean forward, create the contact and the trip to the line is automatic. Also, I don't see guys like Westrbook taking the nasty falls Derrick does. If there is somebody in his way on a drive he simply pump fakes/or goes more vertical keeping the ball hand away from the defender with his body to get the foul and the shot off. You just can't go vertical and horizontal at the same time, and not expect bigs in front of you to undercut or slam you i.e Dwight 'the cheapshot punk' Howard(who has mastered the phony follow through on a 'block' attempt and hit someone in the head/face).

    Anyway, when it comes to creating contact, and knowing when he can't drive horizontally through the air to the basket/when a big is in front of him/to dangerous I have to give Derrick an F on both these fronts. If he doesn't improve he A) will not get the easily obtainable trips to the line(though the refs still screw him big time on legit contact) and B) he will end up falling and breaking his wrists or his neck/back or head concussion from these high in the air dead falls.

    I don't see any signs of Thibs and the coaches correcting thse fatal flaws in Derrick's game. If they do/did he could have a long career and be scoring 27ppg and dominating/winning in the playoffs getting to the line almost at will such as a Lebron,. Michael, Wade etc. But that's just my opinion.

    Bottom line: at least correct the going vert and horizontal to the basket when there's no clear path/ a bigger defender is in front/or nearly in front of you because you will get undercut/slammed again and eventually you will get hurt very, very badly.

    When will the coaches wake up, and correct these two fatal flaws in D's game. Time is ticking. Not only would it insure Derrick probably has a long and relatively safe career/life, but he could take it to another level dominating offensively and in my mind no doubt be a top 3-5 player in this league.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    As soon as the league starts tracking "fast breaks given up because you were lying on the floor trying to game the system" as a stat some of these guys are going to look a lot less impressive.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I wish the Bulls would just rest Noah if he needs it ... you don't even have to have him in a suit, just start Boozer/Gibson and leave Noah on the bench and you can play him if the Bulls struggle but if they're doing OK then he can take the game off.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:


    D Rose is going to have to start flopping a little. Thats what all the greats do to get calls.

  • I agree with RW in that I am also concerned about Noah. It takes a killer spirit and a disciplined lifestyle to succeed in professional sports. Noah has the killer spirit but I am not sure of his lifestyle and with all his new money(his own rather than his dad's or mom's), he might get easily distracted. If his profession was a rock singer, maybe it would have been fine. Plus, he is not the most talented player on offense and has to keep working.

    Also, Rose has to be careful in going against some guards. They might be trying to play dirty because they can't guard him. I hope the Bulls FO/coaching staff do a good selling job to the league if this continues..

  • Doesn't sound like Rose or Noah's injuries are serious or there is a good chance of them getting much worse. Just some bumps and bruises. I say play them both. The next game is Saturday, so there's a lot of time to rest. Gotta keep the winning streak going. Thibs must be a little more careful in getting his guys more rest when we're up big. Especially, with the heavy schedule filled with multiple back to backs coming up this month.

  • After tonight, Bullies play 1 game in 5 nights, if you need to rest him a game, I say do it Saturday

  • what we have suspected for some time

  • Great article by Michael Wilbon on the emerginf young Bulls:


  • In reply to ChiRy:

    A lot of hyperbole in there, but Wilbon's style is a talent, nonetheless.

  • That is exactly what I have been thinking since Boozer came back.

    Boozer seems to benefit from Noah's efforts, but as of yet I haven't seen Noah benefit from Boozer.

  • Better beware.

    The Raps while not a good team, have been far better than expected this season, they have beaten a couple of good teams so far. The Bulls better come with a better effort than they did against the Cavs, or the Pacers for that matter.


    Rose and Noah are both playing.


  • Good lets get a big lead an rest our players. Raptors shouldnt be anywhere near us if we play well

  • Lets say Deng and Rose really are 40% three point shooters now (which it's sure starting to look like). Do we really need a SG who can shoot threes as well? How many teams have all of their PG/SG/SF as three point threats? Only really Orlando that I can think of, and you can argue they're a special case because they have Dwight Howard.

    The improvement of Rose and Deng's shooting is making the SG look like less and less of an issue to me. Just start Brewer and let the team gel, there's no need to switch up chemistry for marginal upgrades. If something big come along or super cheap then you can look at it, but I wouldn't give up any rotation players or the Bobcats pick for a guy like Lee.

    I fully expect to be told by certain people I don't want to WIN and I'm a CLUELESS FOLLOWER because of this attitude, but whatever.

  • Holy crap Bargs is out too, we're playing a D league team.

  • A bit of an overgeneralization. Noah's energy is more fueled by cleaning up messes on the glass on both ends.

  • Rose looks tentative/slow today. I agree, Watson already has played more in the first half than he usually has. Toronto defense is terrible. We shouldn't need much Rose today.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    He's clearly not 100%, he just barely put the ball in on the breakaway dunk rather than the ball behind the head slam it down he normally does.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Raptors just flailing around at Boozington in the post. No answer for Carlos. This team looks so weak inside without Barnyard.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Near enough to 60% shooting for the half, now just need to come out strong in the third so everyone can put their feet up for the last.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Korver is that man. Here's hoping they start with the starters + Korver in the second half like they did last game. He has a hot hand. Also hope to see Brewer, he played very productive minutes in that first half.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Hoping we finally see the Johnson - Asik - Thomas frontcourt at the end of the second half

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    The Raptors defense should be getting credit for the assists they're giving Boozer.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Watching Boston - NYK on ESPN during commercials. Wishing we went after Stoudemire rather than Boozer. Not saying Boozer isn't good, but....damn.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Amare is in full on beast mode right now. Don't know how long his body holds up so Boozer might look better by the end of their contracts.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Holy crap he hit the game winning three too ... after the buzzer but nice shot. :)

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Sloppy at the end with the second unit but still a very solid win. Got Rose some rest at least.

  • Watson again struggles to hit shots ... luckily everyone else is on against the Raptors weak D.

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