Not only did Thibs abandon his pursuit of a repeat preseason championship by sitting both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in the second half on Monday, he'll also be holding out Noah for Tuesday's game in Detroit.
On the bright side, it's good to see Thibodeau embracing a longer view of the season. The downside is, of course, that Noah isn't 100%. He was wearing a left knee brace (which he'll be reportedly sporting all year) and had tights over both legs, ice on them after his stint, and didn't look totally there on the floor during preseason debut. Shooting 1 of 6 with 2 turnovers, Noah did not look completely like himself running the floor, though not nearly as bad as how he ended last season's playoffs. Of course Noah also had a couple nice hustle plays where he dove on the floor, and it's probably best not to waste the floor burns in preseason.
"It is the right plan (to not play Tuesday)," said Noah. "I feel pretty good. I feel like it’s definitely going to be a process; I have a ways to go. I’m using this preseason to get stronger and to build up for the regular season. I had a knee surgery and the first two games are back to back. I think it’s a smart thing to do. I wanted to play more. Trust me, if it were my choice I’d be playing tomorrow. I’m going to stick to this and I’m going to use this to get better. I’m hoping this is the only one I miss and I can be ready and ready to go for the next one."
Pau Gasol featured some really nice moments, featuring a couple of jumpers and a few nifty passes. Gasol's post passing is going to be a huge asset this season, and teams better be on their toes with him and Noah initiating from the high post.
Gasol also shined on the defensive end, recording several impressive blocked shots that Carlos Boozer almost certainly wouldn't have pulled off. In fact, his 3 blocks were more than Boozer had ever gotten in a single game as a Bull. Gasol can't move like he once could, but he's just so damn tall and long that he can make up for it.
[Pau also reminded me it's nice to have one of our greatest living humans playing for the Bulls with his fatherly head-touches to teammates after whistles. I dunno, I just liked it.]
Taj Gibson will very likely get the start on Tuesday, though his opener was a night to forget, with 12 shot attempts and just three makes. Gibson did get some good looks that he simply couldn't convert, but he also forced the issue on several occasions when there was just nothing there. No need to have tunnel vision when there are other weapons on the floor.
Both Nazr Mohammed and Cameron Bairstow received DNP's Monday whereas Solomon Jones played the final 12 minutes. We'll see if that holds tonight or if Thibs will be having more of an open tryout in these games. He's already showing a kinder, gentler coaching style when it comes to resting his stars.