This is how you do it, Ricky Davis! (Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE)
For Joakim Noah tonight, the triple-double talk came early, having 5 assists in just after the first 8 minutes of the game. He had 7 by halftime, with 8 rebounds and all 6 points coming from the free-throw line. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Noah became the first Bulls center with a triple-double since Artis Gilmore in 1977. And as that quarter ended and he hit a baseline tornado to give him 13 points, he gave an emphatic version of the fingagunz holster, and solidified his place as just the best.
By then the Bulls were up 93-75 and Noah didn't have to see the floor the rest of the night, as the fourth quarter played out as garbage-time (sorry, not for you Luol Deng, get out there!) and skews downward the fantastic offensive night the Bulls displayed otherwise, because it was quite impressive.
There was Noah's statistical feat, Derrick Rose showing more burst as he returns from injury, Carlos Boozer unleashing post moves, Kyle Korver getting ran off the 3-point line but draining long twos, Ronnie Brewer looking completely turned around now that Rose has returned to the lineup (7-10 shooting)...even Luol Deng responded from a very quiet first half to eventually get to 16 points.
The Bucks actually played fairly well on offense, helped out by the Bulls 20 turnovers, but they were up against a juggernaut. When they weren't throwing the ball away, the Bulls couldn't be stopped, and in the rare case they were even slowed, the rebound would nearly always wind up in their hands: an astounding 45% to 25% OffReb% advantage. The Bucks front line, depleted without Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden, just coiuldn't compete with Boozer and Noah. Either they'd have Ersan Ilyasova try to guard Booz and get backed down, or they'd switch and allow Noah to have free reign of the offensive glass.
The Bucks don't have the manpower even with Bogut, Gooden, or Stephen Jackson, but opponent aside it was a destruction that was nice to see. Tom Thibodeau can still look to failings with turnovers and defense and not be entirely wrong, but as he heads to the All-Star break with Derrick Rose and Deng he has to be pleased that in no way has his team lost focus. It's been a trial-laden but extremely successful season, and the break is well-earned. But I'm sure the team is excited and their coach ever-excitable knowing the higher caliber of opposition awaits them in the second half of the season.