April 8, 2010

Rami Abboud—

Joakim Noah had this to say about LeBron James possibly signing with Chicago, prior to the Bulls-Cavs meeting on Thursday night:

Let’s talk about that after the season.  But I think right now he’s not my friend.  He’s the enemy right now. I don’t want to give him too much homage.”

One could imagine that these words were sparked from this incident between James and Noah earlier this season:

James’ dancing would be halted tonight.

The Chicago Bulls, backed by a furious effort by Noah, defeated a LeBron-less Cavs team 109-108.  Joakim Noah was the undisputed player of the game, putting up a monster night:

  • 17 points
  • 15 rebounds
  • 4 assists
  • 4 blocks (all of which coming in the 2nd half)

His play was outstanding.  He made a couple excellent spin moves – including a monster wheeling dunk as the 1st half expired.  Joakim’s hustle was the difference in this game.  My personal favorite play was hustling down a loose ball that seemed to be well within the grasp of Varejao (who is known as the best loose-ball-hunting big man in the NBA).  On a jump ball, he popped it out for Rose, who finished with a fast break lay-up on the other end.  He hit a go ahead unchallenged jump shot with under 2:00 remaining in the game.

It wasn’t easy against Mo Williams who went off for 35 points (12/24 shooting) and 10 assists.  Rose poured in 24 of his own, making 10 of his 17 field goal attempts.  However he only went 3-of-7 from the line – including 2 misses with 2 seconds remaining in the game.  TNT definitely provided its motto tonight.  There was some definite drama in the 4th quarter tonight, but fortunately the Bulls prevailed – silencing a giddy ‘Bron on the Cav’ sideline.  Clutch free throw shooting has seemed to be a big problem for the Bulls all season long.  Tonight, the Bulls’ Deng missed a pair after a HUGE defensive stand by Hinrich on the red-hot Mo Williams.  Then, the Bulls put up another great defensive pressure, giving Derrick Rose the rebound and a chance to ice the game at the foul line…

First attempt – missed

Second attempt – tipped out by Noah, allowing the clock to expire.

Fittingly, it was Joakim and his ability to get his hands on loose balls that was the game-winning play.  The win puts the Bulls in a virtual tie with Toronto at 38-40.  Though, Toronto owns the tiebreaker, so the Bulls must finish with a better record in order to slip into the 8th seed.

Both teams are playing tomorrow night: Raptors at Atlanta; the Bulls at New Jersey.  Their next respective games following that will be one – in Toronto.

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