Who knows what to really take from the Bulls big win over the Warriors. Such an odd game, with so many people out. I suppose the grit required to even stay in the game early means that Thibs still has this team Thibs'n, but outside of 'fringe' media that wasn't really being questioned.
But while there's nothing too spectacular from Joakim Noah in the above clip, what hopefully turns out to be the most important takeaway from this win is that he's back on track. As Jason said in the recap, he 'looked like Noah', with 18 points (7-12 shooting), 15 rebounds (7 offensive) and 6 assists, plus a couple of steals.
A key stat is that he played over 40 minutes, and a key observation is that he didn't look broken-down at the end. On top of dealing with knee surgery recovery all year, Noah missed 4 games with a sprained ankle earlier in the month and then only averaged 22.5 minutes in his first two games back. In his last game against the Heat, Noah was part of a group that was overwhelmed by Hassan Whiteside, and was effectively benched in the 4th quarter.
We had a number of guys step up, but I thought Jo was great tonight, great. His best game of the year. He's got a lot of pride. The last three or four days he's been working like crazy, after games, before practice. He really played a great game. The extra work he put in and the way he played was terrific.
The Warriors front line was undersized with no Andrew Bogut, but what we saw in this game from Noah is hopefully a sign to come and not just a blip. His health and activity may be the most important variable to this team, so while it's just one game, here's hoping.
Noah after Thibodeau lauded his game first: "I don't want to say anything crazy and then stink it up the next night. Got to keep working."— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) January 28, 2015