Tag: Joakim Noah
The Chicago Bulls are fighting against the odds. Very few people out there believe this team has the stamina and the courage to beat the Brooklyn Nets. On the one hand, the Nets hold home court advantage throughout this best of seven series of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. On the other, it is clear that they will have to keep on going without their best player, Derrick Rose.
It hasn’t made much of a difference however, and despite losing their first two games on the road at Brooklyn, the Bulls gave it all they had to take this vital win at the United Center in Chicago behind Carlos Boozer and his 22 points, 16 rebounds and 3 assists. It wasn’t a pretty game, it lacked that luster that makes the NBA the perfect place for the exciting highlight reel worthy plays. Still, it was the sort of game that the Bulls needed to take a 76-79 win over the Brooklyn Nets to shorten the deficit in the series.
Chicago really needs to work around the schedule and win the next two games if they hope to make it into the next round. There’s no doubt that winning at home is a must for Chicago, and taking the next road game is what could turn this 2-1 deficit into a first round playoffs upset. Loul Deng, on the other hand, chipped in with 21 points and 10 rebounds to help starve off the Nets who gave it all they had to close down the gap late into the fourth quarter. Deng is one of those players that will not be making the highlight reels anytime soon. He plays in the background but he is as vital as any player could be for his team.
He was the guy who got Chicago rolling strong in the third quarter for the second consecutive game. The All-Star forward scored 12 points in the first 4 minutes after the halftime break seemingly making life a living hell for Gerald Wallace who was trying to stop him on the other end. In the third period, the Bulls turned a seven-point halftime advantage into a 16-point lead.
“I had a few good minutes,” Deng said about his performance in the postgame press conference. “I felt like I could have shot the ball a lot better. I don’t know how many minutes, seven or so of great minutes. They could have sent me home after that.” The Brooklyn Nets would give it one last shot in the fourth quarter and behind Brooke Lopez, who finished the night with 22 points and 9 rebounds, including eight points in a 10-2 spree that got Chicago withing 77-74 with 14.4 seconds left in the game. The Bulls didn’t break under pressure and they managed to control the game in clutch time. Nate Robinson and Joakim Noah each hit a free throw in the final seconds of the game. The Nets had one last chance to push for a tie and into overtime but guard C.J. Watson air-balled an open 3 at the buzzer and the Bulls took this vital win at home.
At 36-37 for the season, many people had written off the Mavericks for the season. Despite their efforts, the team just didn’t look to have what it takes to make it into this year’s postseason. Still, despite the criticisms, or perhaps fueled by it, the Dallas Mavericks have insisted on giving it all they’ve got. They are now only one game behind the LA Lakers and the Utah Jazz for the 8th and last spot in the NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference. It was a tough game, and mentally, they had to do a deep rethinking of their game in order to bounce back from a 25-points loss to the Indiana Pacers and take on a team like that Chicago Bulls that, despite their shortcomings, are a very tough rival. They still have a shot at making it into the postseason, and it all starts this week when they start a 4-game road trip visiting the LA Lakers. A game, that by all means, they need to win to make a case at that last spot.
The Chicago Bulls got 25 points and 11 rebounds from Carlos Boozer, it also got 25 points from Nate Robinson, including 14 in the fourth quarter alone. This was the Bulls first game since they successfully ended the Miami Heat’s winning streak at 27 games. The Bulls guard was hot from beyond the three-point arch, making all of his 7 attempts. Still, it wasn’t enough to hold off the Dallas Mavericks who came from behind to win the game in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. Dallas got plenty of help from its bench. Both veteran Vince Carter and the center Brandan Wright each scored 17 points for the Mavericks. The Dallas Mavericks took a100-98 win over the Bulls to take a 4-2 record after playing six straight games at home.
Dirk Nowitzki guided the home team’s efforts with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists. He was the man to take the winning shot when he got a pass from Vince Carter and fired up from behind the arc as Boozer ran towards him. He hit the 3-pointer when there were only 2.9 seconds left to go. The Bulls then got the ball one last time and opted to go with the hot-handed Nate Robinson for the final shot. He went to the right and tried a two-point jumper for the tied but his shot was slightly off target and the Mavericks took this win.
This win certainly means a lot for the Mavericks. It also reminds us that at 39-32 for the season, the Bulls really are doing what they can to stay afloat considering how much this team has had to suffer with shortcomings in the injury department. All-Star center Joakim Noah was sidelined for the fourth straight game with an ailment in his right foot. Bulls guard Marco Belinelli was again, for the third consecutive game, sitting in the bench trying to recover from abdominal strain as if that was not enough Bulls also were without Richard Hamilton who’s been suffering with lower back issues and hasn’t played since Feb. 26.
Sure enough the Chicago Bulls are once again trying to cope with what looks like a full season without their biggest star: Derrick Rose. If you look at their numbers, at 33-25 for the season, the Bulls are doing quite well, considering their circumstances. Now, this time, head coach Tim Thibodeau has figured out how to keep his team motivated and just do without Rose. And that doesn’t seem to be a difficult task, considering that his backup can quite deliver when needed. Let’s consider Joakim Noah’s terrific game in the Bulls 93-82 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks for his third career triple-double. It was enough to fuel the Bulls past a feisty 76ers squad and to put an and to a two-game losing streak.
Now, a triple-double, well, that’s a hard feat to accomplish. To reach a triple-double the hard way, that is, by blocking, now’s that one rare occasion. As a matter of fact, this is so rare that Noah tied the Bulls record for blocks in a regulation game, previously set by Artis Gilmore in 1977. His head coach described his performance as spectacular. And he was quite right about it. He made it all look too easy, too effortlessly and it was a beautiful game. “His will from the start of the game until the end was just incredible,” Thibodeau said about his best player right now in the postgame press conference. “He was everywhere — blocked shots, switching, guarding everyone. Big-time multiple efforts.”
But it took an all-around effort from the Bulls to win this game. Carlos Boozer chipped in behind Noah with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while there was plenty of offensive prowesses to come via Kirk Hinrich and Loul Deng who had 15 and 12 points each. Truth is that Philadelphia quite clearly had nothing to throw at him. No matter what sort of man-to-man defense or zone defense, it made no difference. Noah was there to break lose and clear havoc. The 76ers gave it a try. They fought the battle but came in short.
Jrue Holiday paced the Sixers with 22 points, Spencer Hawes added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Evan Turner had 12 points. The loss was Philadelphia’s season-high seventh in a row. “We were very competitive,” Collins said. “(But) the Bulls front line was tremendous … Between Noah and Boozer they had 44 points and 33 rebounds and Noah’s 11 blocks and those guys were 18 for 21 from the foul line. That ended up being the difference in the game.”
Now, just to put this Joakim Noah feat in the right perspective, let’s consider for a moment that Joakim Noah became the first player in NBA history to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocks and shoot at least 65 percent from the field in a single game. Yeah, that is quite a phenomenal start, a great way to get this team moving forward, into the winning lane. Perhaps this time they’ll be better equipped to win in the postseason without Rose and they could become a menace for the Heat’s ruling of the Eastern Conference.
Tim Thibodeau kept on saying time after time that the Chicago Bulls had what it took to win, that they had more than enough to win despite the injuries that had taken out Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. It was a valid argument during the regular season when the Bulls flourished while their leading scorer Derrick Rose dealt with a series of distinct injuries that forced him out of half the games of the regular season. But losing Rose after game one against the Philadelphia 76ers and dealing with the loss of their top-rebounder Joakim Noah for the last 4 matches of the NBA Playoffs first round was just too much for the ailing Bulls. And with a series of misfortunate events and a solid performance from the 76ers that didn’t let this one slip by, the Chicago Bulls dream was cut short.
And yet the future, at least for this upcoming season is not looking too bright for these guys. Derrick Rose will undergo surgery to repair his torn ACL and the recovery could take anywhere between 6-8 months. Joakim Noah is probably not going to need surgery but he’s certainly going to be needing some extra rest, while on the other hand, Loul Deng, will undergo surgery to repair the ligaments in his wrist after he plays with team USA in the London Summer Olympics. And it’s really hard to just put it all into perspective for the Chicago fans. Heck, it seems that even some player are in a little bit of disbelief. The Bulls were a team that was expected to give the Miami Heat a run for their money; a team that many believed would bring back a national championship ring. Instead, they are leaving the Playoffs in the first round against a poorly seeded team.
“I can’t believe it’s over,” Noah said, “but we have to move on. You put all this work and then fall short, it’s tough. God works in mysterious ways, I guess.” But they weren’t that mysterious. Injuries kept on ailing this team and breaking down the overall spirit of the squad. But now comes a time to rest. There is really nothing left for this guys to do but rest. Carlos Boozer, a player that really needs to improve his game, will return to his home in Miami. He’s going to be working on improving his game. “Everything, everything. I just want to come back a better player, all around, inside and out, defensively, offensively, a better leader, continue to improve as a player,” he said.
Joakim Noah on the other hand will travel to far-flung destinations including Cameroon. As for Rose, it is still uncertain what’s in store for him. A lengthy recovery from surgery is a fact. And the Chicago fans are going to have to be patient and understand that there is little to be done now. This is the Chicago Bulls core, there is not much space to negotiate and find a new guy to bring in. But quite frankly the Bulls are stuck in a moment, and getting out of it is only a matter of time. We’ll have to wait and see if next season they can be as competitive as the Miami Heat.