For now, the Chicago Bulls are on a new winning streak beating the Utah Jazz, 93-89. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah both had double-doubles last night against the Jazz. Joakim Noah is still not physically 100% and his plantar fasciitis may still be really bothering him. But, he did play better and have much better numbers. Noah finished the game with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 steals in 34 minutes. Deng, for once, didn’t play the most minutes in a game. He played 34 minutes with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Speaking of playing the most minutes, Nate Robinson played 46 minutes of regulation, mainly due to the absence of Kirk Hinrich. Nate had 18 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds.
The Chicago Bulls could not stop Al Jefferson on offense. Maybe because Noah is still injured or maybe Jefferson is just really skilled at his position, but Al got every thing he wanted. Jefferson went for 15/22 FG (68%), finishing with 32 points and 13 rebounds in 41 minutes. Paul Milsap also carried the scoring load with Jefferson, finishing with 21 points and 3 rebounds. The Bulls only had 9 turnovers against the Jazz and had 25 assists as a team. These are decent stats for the Bulls, but what isn’t decent is their lack of scoring in the third quarter. After halftime, the Bulls are not sharp and don’t get off to a quick start in the second half. This continues to be a problem, especially if the Bulls aren’t up by double digits before the end of the first half. The Bulls don’t run complicated plays on offense, but they STILL struggle to score, missing easy close range shots. Without Derrick, who is expected to return soon, the Bulls are struggling to find a consistent rhythm. Luckily, the Bulls have a couple days to regroup before their game against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday evening. But, the Bulls may have to sit Joakim Noah, especially if he’s playing in the All-Star game on February 17th. Yes, the Spurs and Celtics games are important, but Noah’s foot needs rest. Coach Thibodeau will have to play Taj Gibson more, if he doesn’t trust Nazr Mohammed to play efficiently.
Feb. 11 (Monday): vs. San Antonio Spurs
Feb. 13 (Wednesday): vs. Boston Celtics
After the All-Star Weekend, the Bulls don’t return to the court until Feb. 19 against the New Orleans Hornets.