Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer had struggled to play well together recently, and the starting lineup as a whole simply wasn't performing. I predicted Joakim would bust out against the Celtics given his history against them, and he delivered.
Noah had 10 points, 12 boards, and four blocks. Quite frankly, the numbers weren't much different per minute than what he's been doing all year, but the defense was significantly improved and his impact on the game was entirely different. He was finally able to harass and bother opponents with his energy and looked like the Noah we've come to love.
He still can get much better, but after a bunch of poor play, it was big to see him step up and play well.
Derrick Rose is a tough dude
He's been in a walking boot since the toe injury including the day of the game prior to tip off, but he wasn't going to miss a chance to beat up on a conference rival. There's times where you'd almost wish Rose was a little less tough, because you'd hate to see him cause long term problems fighting through short term injuries, but in the end, Rose is everything any fan would want in their superstar.
Playing through pain, Rose scored 25 with seven assists. He started off missing some shots he'd normally make and struggled from the field, but when the Celtics threatened to take the lead, Derrick went into MVP mode and drilled a couple of threes to built a comfortable lead for the Bulls again.
Luol Deng had a comeback game of sorts
It's hard to say Luol ever played badly, because his defense and rebounding are always there even when his shot isn't falling, but Deng, who's struggled from the three point line, knocked down two of four from beyond the arc, limited his turnovers, and had an efficient knight offensively.
Oh, and he still dominated the glass and played tremendous defense too.
Omer Asik still rocking some tremendous defense
Nothing in the box score would indicate that Omer played a nice game; 0 points, 0 boards, 1 block. However, Omer continues to impress the heck out of me with how disruptive his defense is in the paint. The bench unit as a whole struggled to get much done, but Omer's a starting caliber center in the NBA right now, offensive warts and all.
The Celtics are SO done
They were done last year, I said it all year long last year, I said they were absolutely no threat last year. Well they went from being no threat, but good enough that you could pretend they were to simply being laughably bad right now. They have enough veteran savvy to beat some crappy teams, but they're old, slow, unathletic, and the Bulls can simply defend their shot creators too easily.
11-2? Hard to complain about the best record in the NBA
You typically judge the best teams records by the loss column, in which case the Thunder and Bulls are effectively tied, but regardless, the Bulls are off to a tremendous start. They've now beaten the Lakers, Clippers, Magic, and Celtics on the road. They've made it through the back to back to back. They've done it while fighting through injuries as well.
The Bulls still have the Heat on the schedule four times, but they've definitely played through a tougher part of the schedule more so than an easier part. Home/Road, no matter who the opponent, right now I think the Bulls are the favorite at tip off of every game now.
The Heatles fell apart with Dwyane Wade going down with an injury. So far their start reminds me much of last season where struggled, and people wrote them off. They're now 8-4. I wouldn't sleep on them come playoff time, but it's nice to see the Bulls have a two game edge in the seeding race already while going through a tough schedule.