While the backcourt left a lot to be desired, the Bulls' frontcourt played their tails off in Toronto. Deng's game-winner obviously stole the headlines, and he played a pretty solid game overall, tallying 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 48 whopping minutes (he also played most of those on a tweaked hammy). And the true star of the game was Carlos Boozer, who continues his renaissance as a guy that doesn't actually suck at basketball anymore (more on him in a later post).
And adding to the solid Bulls' frontcourt play was Joakim Noah, who notched a double-double and matched Deng in minutes with 48. Noah finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, although he did shoot just 5-of-14 from the field. The poor shooting numbers have become a bit of a trend for Noah as of late. It's interesting to see that Jo is under 46 percent on the year now, which would be a career-low.
Noah's numbers in general are rather intriguing to look at, especially considering he's getting quite a bit of All-Star love these days. To go along with his low shooting percentages (not his free throws though, those have been great), his per/36 scoring and rebounding numbers are down from past years. His PER is also the lowest it has been since his second season.
But despite this, Noah's impact has been greater than ever for the Bulls, especially on the defensive end. He was a -2 last night, but the Bulls have been significantly better defensively with Jo on the court this year. The trio of Deng, Boozer and Noah severely outplayed the Raptors' frontcourt and led the Bulls to a 54-36 advantage in points in the paint.
The New York Times recently did a nice little feature on Noah and all that he brings to the Bulls, delving a bit into his background and how his "game has matched his bravado." Definitely a pretty good read, with a pretty hilarious lede as well.