Tag Archives: Joakim Noah

Note-A-Bulls: Short-handed Bulls fall to “Rival” New York Knicks 104-89, dropping their 3rd straight game.

Facing familiar faces in Joakim Noah and the now “located” Derrick Rose, the Bulls squared off against the Knicks in 2017’s version of the “Flu Game,” just with a much worse result. The Bulls were without Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine due to the stomach bug and their lack of depth continued to be on display tonight on national television. The Bulls kept close throughout, but their lack of scoring options proved to be their un-doing, a common theme throughout the season. Facing an uphill battle already, the Bulls went into Madison Square Garden undermanned, and left leaving fans with the same sick feeling that sidelined Butler, Mirotic and Valentine.

  • TNT Announcer Marv Albert referred to the game feeling like a “Preseason Game” due to both team’s injuries, illness, and maybe even the sparse crowd at Madison Square Garden. However, in reality, he may have been referring to the actual product on the court, no matter the injuries or health conditions that was cause for concern for any basketball fan.
  • Because of illness the Bulls gave 2016 2nd round pick Paul Zipser his first start of his NBA career. While he looked fairly comfortable on the floor, his first task as an NBA starter was to guard Carmelo Anthony, not the easiest of assignments.
  • The Knicks first basket of the game was a Joakim Noah dunk, which was fitting against his former team who fired their previous defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau.
  • The story in the game and throughout the week was the play of former Bull and league MVP Derrick Rose. Rose, who was M.I.A a few nights earlier after flying home to Chicago, played well against his former team. Rose looked well-rested and explosive at times. While he is still not the player he was that took the league by storm, a few nice drives to the basket, reminded Bulls fans watching and his new Knicks’ fans what he was and still can potentially be.
  • The Knicks started off the game with an 8-0 run, and that was without the biggest bright spot of New York’s season, the injured Kristaps Porzingis. During this stretch and throughout the game the Knicks employed the rare triple-team defensive scheme, to divert the Bulls offensive plans, coming at a surprise to Hoiberg’s Bulls.
  • Due to a shortened bench, the Bulls offense had many moments of stagnation throughout the game. This lack of offense however is unfortunately common even when the Bulls are at full strength. Knicks guard Justin Holiday came off the bench in the 1st quarter to hit back-to-back threes. The Bulls used Doug McDermott as their off the bench scorer tonight, but he went 0-5 from the floor in 16 minutes. The Bulls desperately need more scoring from their bench, especially when they are down 3 players.
  • Watching Joakim Noah and new Bulls’ center Robin Lopez play in the same game reminds many fans how fortunate it is to now have a presence offensively down low, as well as in the rebounding game, as the Bulls continue to be the best rebounding team in the league, despite losing the battle tonight. While Noah (12 Pts, 15 Reb) beat out Lopez (10 Pts, 7 Reb) on the stat sheet tonight, Lopez continues to make his presence known even if it does not show up statistically after every game.
  • The Bulls had an 8-0 run of their own behind Jerian Grant and had scored 16 points off of turnovers in the 1st half but found themselves still trailing 54-51 at halftime.
  • The 2nd half did not turn out any better for the Bulls. They missed their first 13 shots of the 3rd quarter, and midway through the quarter, Dwyane Wade was 3-6 from the field, while the rest of the team was 0-10, meaning they went 3-19, and ended up only scoring only 16 points in the entire quarter.
  • In reference to the Bulls lack of scoring options, Marv Albert noted that the Bulls are the worst 3pt shooting team in the league, shooting 31% and averaging six 3-pointers a game. How does an NBA team average only six 3-pointers a game? Harping on the lack of scoring options and shot creation is not something I want to write about each recap, but it is constant. In 19 minutes, Bobby Portis scored 2 points, Doug McDermott totaled 2 points and Rajon Rondo finished with 4 points. While Jerian Grant (14 pts) and Christiano Felicio (13 pts) both finished with double-digit scoring nights, it is not enough from the bench. The Bulls cannot be satisfied with this performance, and I will be curious to see what moves they intend to make come February.
  • Continuing with Portis, the fact that Fred Hoiberg started Paul Zipser tonight over Portis, reinforces the idea of the lack of development of another Gar/Pax first round pick.
  • At the 3:49 mark in the 4th quarter, Wade accounted for 14 points, while the rest of the Bulls roster had only scored 8 points.
  • Mindaugas Kuzminskas was all the bench help the Knicks needed, as he scored 19 points, followed by Kyle O’Quinn’s 12 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks, scoring 23 points, Derrick Rose finished the night with 17 points.
  • To end the game, Paul Zipser was sent back out on the floor over Doug McDermott. While McDermott’s night was not one of his best, Bulls fans and management would expect 1st round pick McDermott to be out on the floor, trying to bring the team back. Yet the Bulls inability to run plays through him and his cold streaks as of late, are more examples of the regressed development for a player that cost the Bulls 2 first round draft picks and the lesser of the Bulls’ 2015 second round pick.
  • Up Next: the Bulls take on Chicago-native Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday at United Center.
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Note-A-Bulls: Wade and Co. drop second straight to Rose and Noah in return to the UC

Tonight the home team Chicago Bulls lost to the New York Knicks 117 -104. It was the return of former Bull stars Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose to the United Center, and they did not disappoint.

Derrick Rose showed flashes of his old self, scoring 15, with an incredibly high 11 assists and 7 rebounds. He kept the turnovers down for the most part as well, only committing 3 turnovers. Noah also had 16 points and 9 rebounds.

But the real story of the night was the faceoff between Knick’s bigman Kristaps Porzingis and the Bull’s Dwyane Wade. Porzingis, someone who new Knick’s coach Jeff Hornacek has been clamoring his team to give the ball to, had 27 points and 5 rebounds. He hit four 3s, and was 10 for 15 overall.

On the other hand, Dwyane Wade has this newly found skill in his game. It’s called the 3 point shot. Fans and analysts alike came into this year complaining that the Bulls had no spacing to be found in their starting 5. Coming into the game, Wade had been 5/12 from 3, giving him a percentage north of 40 on the season. Very surprising for a guy with a career 28.6 percentage from 3 point land.

Well the Bulls have found their spacing, and his name is Dwyane Wade. Tonight he scored 35 points along with 10 rebounds, as Chicago seemed to out rebound New York all night. Wade was 5 for 7 from 3, bringing his yearly totals from deep to 10 out of 19, nearly completing 50 percent of his shots from 3 point land.

Even though playing much better transition defense than the Knicks, the Bulls were not able to carry over a 2nd quarter run, as the Knicks outscored the Bulls by 14 in the second half.

Each member of the Knick’s starting 5 had at least 15 points. (The bench only scored 17.) Shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3, everything was going down for New York.

The Bulls shot 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3, a poor showing against such a poor defensive team. Butler had 26 points, hitting 11 for 11 from the line. Mirotic had a strong second quarter where he had 10, but ended up scoring only 14 for the night off the bench.

Chicago out-rebounded New York 42 to 29 – the combination of Gibson, Lopez, Mirotic, and tonight even Wade, gives the Bull’s a fundamental advantage over teams that have low shooting performances. (Which tonight the Knicks unfortunately did not.)

NOTES –

  • Derrick Rose flashed some of his talents of old. This finish right here is something pulled straight out of his MVP season.

  • Also, his 3 turnovers were the result of him driving and doing that insanely stupid jump pass. It looks cool in highlights. It helped him rack up 11 assists against a poor defensive team on the perimeter. But at some point, he’s going to have a game in which he shoots 4/15, has 5 turnovers from that jump pass alone, and he gets pulled in favor of Brandon Jennings.
  • This is random – Kyle O’Quinn off the bench in the high post was very intriguing – a few times he was able to hit a 16 footer with ease. With that Knick’s second unit (or really the lack thereof) I expect that to be a bright spot going forward.
  • Carmelo Anthony. Oh joy. Carmelo Anthony is one of the league’s best and most talented isolation scorers. Tonight he showed that off, scoring 25 on 9 of 22 shooting. However, when watching this Knicks team, his play almost seems detrimental at times. Hornacek was brought in to New York to speed up the offense. Run the fastbreak. If a suddenly enlightened Carmelo decided he would push the ball, run the floor, and play defense, he’d get better and more open shots. It would make the Knicks a million times better. Will that happen? No. But it’s what will hold the Knicks back when push comes to shove come playoff time.
  • Kristaps Porzingis needs the ball more. He needs to be taking more than 15 shots a game. His ability to stretch the floor, play big against guards in transition, make him a monster offensive threat. Some of his playmaking and decision making skills need refined. But Hornacek loves him for a reason. He will be the pulse for that team.
  • Doug McDermott has really developed into an efficient offensive player. He can put the ball on the floor with multiple ways to get to the basket, as well as displaying his deadly 3. Even though he won’t be able to start because of his defensive inefficiencies, he will be one of the league’s best scorers off the bench. Count on it.
  • Nikola Mirotic is another guy exactly like McDermott – his ability to stretch the floor and drive to the hoop make him very valuable, starter potential at some point. However, his lack of quickness on the perimeter make him a small 4. He’s able to rebound very well, however, so at some point don’t be surprised if Hoiberg often runs a small lineup with Gibson and Mirtoic as the two bigs.
  • Christiano Felecio is the definition of a dark horse player. His ability to be the primary ball handler on top, a la Joakim Noah, as well as play excellent defense down low and on the perimeter, will get him valuable minutes with the second team, and he showed that tonight as well.
  • Up Next: The Chicago Bulls play at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the Indiana Pacers Saturday the 5th 6:00 PM Central Time.

 

 

Bulls Midseason Breakdown

The Bulls are 24-17, putting us at exactly the midpoint of Chicago’s 2015-16. The (D)Roses and Thorns crew is back once again to go through some of the biggest storylines surrounding the remainder of the season.

In our Quarter Season Breakdown, we took a look at the early returns on Fred Hoiberg‘s new offense, Chicago’s different lineup combinations, the ongoing struggles of Joakim Noah, and the necessity of a freed Bobby Portis.

The offense has actually improved greatly in the second quarter of the season. While Derrick Rose still isn’t distributing the ball to the best of his abilities, his scoring output has been fantastic. In that time, Rose has averaged 18.7 points on 45.9% shooting, massive improvements from his horrid start to the season. Furthermore, Jimmy Butler has continued to blossom into an elite two-way player, pouring in both a 40 point half and 53 point masterpiece while also increasing his assist rate.

Unfortunately, the defense has fallen off after a fantastic start. With Joakim Noah likely done for the season, Fred Hoiberg has no reliable frontcourt combinations when the Bulls need a stop. Taj Gibson is the only plus defender left, and pairing him with Pau Gasol does not fully combat the elder Spaniard’s poor efforts and mobility. Neither Niko Mirotic or Bobby Portis is an impactful defender at this time, meaning the Bulls have no choice but to try and beat opponents with offense now.

As a whole, the Bulls are on pace for 48 wins after a healthily dramatic first half of the season. Joakim’s injury hurts badly, and Mike Dunleavy‘s continued absence has left the Bulls without a reliable small forward. Still, encouraging signs from Derrick Rose and Bobby Portis have left us with some optimism yet. The Bulls probably won’t win the NBA Finals this year, but there’s plenty that makes this team worth watching.

Without further ado, let’s break it down, midseason style.

–Jake Weiner, (D)Roses and Thorns Editor

butler rose fred

Fred Hoiberg’s Report Card: Incomplete — Drew Hackman

If this year feels like a melting pot of players, coaches, styles, and personalities, that’s because it is. And so far, instead of a homogeneous complementary blend of talent, catalyzed by the offensive mind of Fred Hoiberg, it has been a close your eyes and pick a flavor of the night. We were expecting drag screens, fast breaks, a spaced half court, three pointers galore, easy paint points, and a chemistry and ball-sharing of new-age basketball never before seen during the Thibodeau era. It hasn’t quite been that.

The Bulls have shown flashes of picking up Hoiberg’s offense, glimpses of how great they can be, but they’ve also shown an utter lack of focus, communication, and rhythm, sometimes even in the same night, indicative of the discomfort and pains of going through a transition from a coach with the tough-minded, traditional style both in personality and in play of Tom Thibodeau, to the more relaxed and free-flowing Fred.

The Bulls are 24-17 under Hoiberg, which by most metrics would be a pretty respectable mark. It’s too early to tell whether Hoiberg is the right fit for this team, or what kind of coach he is at the NBA level. He comes into a city on the heels of four straight postseason runs with high expectations, this season no different, a fan base clamoring for a shake-up in the methodology and approach, and something new. He was said to bring a new and exciting offense to this team, with the players that could make it work. But what we’ve seen so far is ups and downs, a lot of post-play courtesy of Pau Gasol, and some frustrated players wishing he was more forceful. There have been signs of it (the halftime reaming the Bulls got against the pitiful Sixers), but nothing has taken hold.

This city expects greatness, a championship, heart hustle and muscle, and above all, effort. This team is not doing that right now, but a rookie coach can only do so much. The players need to step up and take ownership. Management needs to give the coach the tools; and the Bulls do not have the tools. Not with Pau Gasol unable to run the floor and Niko Mirotic shooting under 40%, and only two or three guys that can run an effective fast break. This season is not and will not be a failure for Hoiberg – the jury is still out, as are the results of the season. If and when the Bulls lose in the second round of the playoffs, or at best in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cavs, the Bulls will hopefully re-tool and acquire some talent that fits into this offense. Then we can finally give a more accurate assessment of Hoiberg as an NBA coach.

Getting up for good teams and playing down to their competition has been the motus operandi of this team for at least two years running – a rookie coach can’t change that overnight. The players have to decide to show up with intensity. No amount of yelling or shaming from a coach will fix that.

This season may not matter if you take the long view – we’re hurtling towards either a Warriors-Cavs or Spurs-Cavs Finals. Hoiberg can only do so much with the personnel he has right now. This year is long from over, and there’s plenty of growth and excitement forthcoming, but it’s next year and the year after that have me truly wondering what Fred Hoiberg is capable of, once the front office decides to make some moves.

snell

The Confounding Tony Snell — Jacob Bikshorn

Tony Snell is perplexing. Not perplexing like my inability to understand where magnets come from and how they work. That’s more like being in awe of a natural force. That is not how I would categorize my Tony Snell confusion. What perplexes me about the third year forward is the great disconnect between what I see with my eyes on the basketball court compared to the numbers I read in his statistical profile.

Tony Snell does not grab the attention of the casual viewer. He’s started in 24 of the 39 games he’s appeared in, but is only averaging 22 minutes per game. He averages a modest six points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game. He is making a career best 37.4% of his threes, but is only attempting 2.9 of them per game. Snell has been horrendous from two point range, connecting on only 36% of his shots inside the arc. He’s only attempted 22 free throws all year. On the defensive end, Tony holds up well in isolation, but is not a particularly great team or help defender off the ball.

Looking beyond the box score is where things become strange. According to NBA.com/stats, the Bulls have a net rating of +5.6 when Tony Snell is in the game, the highest of any Bull. When Snell is off the court, the Bulls net rating falls to -3.4, the lowest on the team. Tony Snell, who appears to do very little to impact basketball games, somehow has the greatest impact on the team’s success.

What is causing this bizarre statistical trend? I have a couple of hypotheses, but none of them can be well supported by any objective measurement at my fingertips. The first hypothesis is that the other small forwards on the team are so bad, that Snell’s robust mediocrity is, by default, a massive boost. Doug McDermott has shot the ball well this season, but he still has a long way to go as a defender and rebounder; his presence on the floor is typically a predictor of poor results. For the second year in a row, Nikola Mirotic has been miscast as a small forward. Any advantages Niko provides on offense are erased when he’s forced to play alongside two other big men. While Snell has not done anything overwhelmingly positive, he at least does his best not to take anything off the table, something that can’t be said of Doug and Niko.

My other theory has to do with the short leash Fred Hoiberg has Snell on. There are certain games where Tony is just feeling it. When that first three finds the bottom of the net, it’s usually a sign of good things to come. On nights like that, Hoiberg extends Snell’s minutes and trusts him to add space to an offense that is constantly lacking it. But on other nights, when Snell clanks his first few attempts off the rim, Hoiberg is quick to send Tony to the bench. Guys like Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol are counted on for big minutes every night. Even on off nights when the shots aren’t falling, these three remain on the court. In theory, if Snell only gets to play on nights when he’s playing well, his on/off numbers would be heavily skewed.

I don’t have any great answer for the Tony Snell question. But I am excited to spend the second half of the season trying to figure it out.

BPtime

Bobby Portis Deserves More Minutes — Jason Schwartz

It’s time to address the issue of reserve power forwards for the Bulls. The two that reside there (Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis) are heading in opposite directions production-wise while Fred Hoiberg continues to give the majority of the minutes to the less productive of the two.

In the past few games, Hoiberg has gone with a starting lineup of Rose, Butler, Snell, Gibson, and Gasol, demoting previous starter Nikola Mirotic to sixth man duties. However, there is no great reason going forward why Mirotic should be getting more minutes than the rookie, as the difference in production is glaring.

While Mirotic showed a lot of promise in an exciting rookie campaign, some of the glaring deficiencies in his game have made him unplayable at times this season. Niko is not a consistent defender and has regressed offensively as well.

Enter Bobby Portis, the fresh-faced rookie who found a place at the end of Fred Hoiberg’s bench to start the season, playing in no more than 10 minutes in any game until December 19th against the Knicks, when he promptly put up 20 points and 11 boards. Portis would presumably improve the defense and rebounding as the first man off of the bench as well as help out the offense. Portis is shooting the ball at a 46.2% clip, compared to Mirotic’s paltry 38.1% from the field. The real improvement, however, is the improvement in athleticism from the rookie on both sides of the floor.

Anyone who was unfortunate enough to watch the game against the Warriors on Wednesday was greeted to Mirotic constantly getting blown by on the defensive side of the ball while bricking his only four shot attempts of the night. This may have been the reason he only played 14 minutes against the stacked Warriors squad. And in those short minutes, he managed to record an astounding +/- rating of -16. This Bulls team needs more athleticism going forward, that is no secret, so there is no harm in giving the rookie a shot to make his mark so the front office can see what they have for the future. The numbers back up this philosophy, especially with Joakim Noah’s injury effectively ruining Chicago’s long championship odds.

In Bulls wins, Bobby Portis is averaging more points and nearly twice as many minutes as he does in losses (17.5 mpg and 9.9 mpg respectively). On the other hand, Niko is averaging 6 less minutes per game and less points per game in Bulls wins. While Portis has provided a chunk of these stats in garbage time, it seems clear there is a correlation between more Bobby and better results.

P-PAU!

Will the Bulls Make a Deadline Move? — Jared Wyllys

Recently, our own Jacob Bikshorn did an excellent job of outlining some of the trade possibilities as the deadline approaches. At the time of Jacob’s post, Joakim Noah looked like a real possibility for one of the players to be moved, but of course, his season has essentially ended, so he is off of the block for now. So where does that leave us? The Bulls are not known for being particularly active at the trade deadline, but the time looks right to be shopping players like Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and possibly even Nikola Mirotic.

Prior to Christmas, the Bulls had been pretty actively shopping Noah and Taj Gibson, and while they might still be looking to move Gibson, Noah is set to be a free agent this summer, so his future is much more unclear.

Outside of the Noah related rumors, the Bulls trading market has been very quiet, which could mean that without Noah as a trade possibility, they may not look to make a move at all, though that’s not the approach that I would hope for them to take.

As it stands now, the Bulls would have the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but it is a very tight field, and that spot shuffles regularly. And after being thoroughly trounced by the Warriors on Wednesday night, the Bulls don’t have a very easy stretch of games to finish the month of January, so this can change significantly.

As for the trade deadline next month, though I expect that the Bulls can remain competitive enough to finish with at least a seed in the top four, I think they are in a position where they need to be thinking beyond just this season. Realistically, we are looking at a team that would struggle to get out of the first or second round anyway, so I would prefer to see them build for the years to come. Jimmy Butler and Bobby Portis look like essential pieces, and beyond those two, my hope is that the front office is willing to move on from a lot of the current roster.

BULLet Points: Bulls grind out important win in Detroit on MLK Day

The Bulls are entering one of the toughest stretches of games that they will see all year, so Monday’s matinee win over the Detroit Pistons was vital to preserving their spot near the top of the Eastern Conference as the season nears its halfway point. The Bulls move to 24-16 on this victory, and maintain their spot just a game behind Toronto for the third spot in the Eastern Conference. Monday’s 111-101 win raised some questions about the Bulls and their need for Joakim Noah following his season ending injury on Friday night, but much of this is too early to tell. Here’s a look at how the Bulls held off a very strong Detroit team on Monday.

  • Bench play. The Bulls bench players scored a combined 33 points on Monday to just 18 from the Pistons. Aaron Brooks and Doug McDermott combined for 17 of those points, and Nikola Mirotic, though he didn’t get the start tonight even in Noah’s absence, added 10 points of his own. Otherwise, E’Twuan Moore added six to round out the bench scoring. With the exception of Bobby Portis, the bench had a +/- that averaged over +11 collectively. Brooks had a ridiculous 10 assists as well.
  • Pau Gasol. I can’t get too far into this without mentioning Gasol and the work that he did against Detroit. He played nearly the most minutes of the afternoon, second only to Jimmy Butler and his 13/18 from the field was instrumental for a team that was down by six points when the first quarter ended. Gasol also led the team with 31 points on offense to go with 12 rebounds, 10 of which came on defense.
  • Detroit’s collapse. The Pistons shot an insane 68% in the first quarter to take a six point lead as the quarter ended, but they folded as the game progressed. The third quarter was their roughest patch, as they were called for three technical fouls, two of which were against Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was ejected. Detroit had led by as much as 13 at one point in the third quarter, and coming off of their 18 point victory over the seemingly untouchable Golden State Warriors on Saturday, this was a matchup that I was a little concerned about, especially since it was a road game for the Bulls.
  • Better off without Jo? This is a question that I hate to even ask on the heels of his very devastating injury on Friday night that has effectively ended his season, and it is obviously one that cannot be answered after just one game without him, but it’s something worth keeping an eye on. Fred Hoiberg and Derrick Rose had a few things to say about the question today:

“I don’t think you could find one guy in that locker room that would say we’re a better team,” Hoiberg said. “He does so many things.”

“I’m not going to say that we’re over him or we don’t need him. We need him for sure,” Rose said. “But we’re professionals. We know that once someone goes out, somebody has to step in and do that job, and we believe in everybody on this team.”

  • I don’t want to read too much into this, but I would probably have said that the Bulls were better off, if even slightly, before he was injured. Noah turns 31 in February, so he has been in the league for a considerable amount of time, so his decline as a player is inevitable. Noah has posted a 14.3 PER so far this year, which is lower than even his rookie year nine seasons ago.
  • Where’s Bobby Portis? On Monday, Portis played for just over three minutes and did not score at all. He has not hit double digits in minutes in about a week, and Portis has not shown the flashes of brilliance that drew us to him a couple of weeks ago, and consequentially he has been seeing a diminished role off of the bench since then. Monday would have been a good opportunity to capitalize on the minutes that he was getting, but he did not score and he had just two rebounds.
  • Jimmy Butler, All Star? The voting ended on Monday night, and Butler stands a chance to be voted in as a starter. He has certainly earned a spot and probably deserves to start, but it’s more likely he is selected as a reserve behind Dwyane Wade and Kyle Lowry, likely vote winners.
  • Coming up, the Bulls will test their mettle at the United Center on Wednesday night against the 38-4 Golden State Warriors.

BULLet Points: Joakim Noah goes down in ugly loss to Mavericks

  • Friday’s night’s forgettable 83-77 loss to Dallas was overshadowed by a second serious shoulder injury to Joakim Noah. After missing just three weeks earlier this season, Noah will now need surgery on the injured shoulder and will be out for four to six months.
  • If Joakim cannot return in time for the playoffs–which seems very likely–there is a strong chance he has played his last game in a Bulls uniform. Noah will be an unrestricted free agent at seasons end, and the Bulls must decide how they will structure their frontcourt going forward. Pau Gasol will likely opt into free agency as well, leaving the younger trio of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, and Bobby Portis as the bigs under contract. The Bulls will surely have some interest in bringing the franchise favorite back, but he may be looking for more money than they are comfortable spending on the oft-injured and rapidly declining center.
  • If this is the end for Jo in Chicago, I’d like to thank him for everything he brought to this team, city, league, and sport. Noah has been a model teammate for years and never failed to invigorate an often frustrated fanbase. I sincerely hope the Bulls can find a way to bring him back.
  • Shall we discuss the stinker of a game from Friday? Jimmy Butler struggled mightily to match his historic 53 point output from the night before in Philadelphia. He scored just four points against Dallas as Wesley Matthews did a fantastic job badgering the exhausted All-Star. While Butler shot 2/11, he did add six assists and five rebounds. His improved playmaking has been instrumental this season.
  • Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol returned to the starting lineup after receiving a night off. Rose looked great, scoring 18 points on 8/18 shooting. His floor game looked as smooth as it has all season as he chipped in four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The rest of the Bulls shot 33.8% from the field.
  • Gasol was solid as well, posting 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. As the only true center left for the Bulls, he’ll be seeing a lot of court time in Joakim Noah’s absence.
  • E’Twaun Moore was impactful off the bench for the second straight night, scoring eight points in 22 minutes. With Kirk Hinrich constantly hobbled and Aaron Brooks useless defensively, Moore might start seeing more time as Rose’s backup. Fred Hoiberg has also already experimented with playing the two together.
  • Dirk Nowitzki started off slowly in this one, but he delivered an MVP finish. With the Bulls hanging around to the end, Dirk drilled back-to-back daggers with defenders draped all over him. You had to appreciate it.

  • Coming up: the Bulls head to Detroit for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at 2:30.