Bulls

Bulls: Tom Thibodeau defends Joakim Noah going into Game 2

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Bulls: Tom Thibodeau defends Joakim Noah going into Game 2

CLEVELAND—

Considering the Mike Miller experiment predictably failed miserably in Game 1, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going with Tristan Thompson at power forward for Game 2 of their series against the Bulls as they try to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole with two games in Chicago up next.

If Game 1 was a win on the scoreboard for the Bulls, it was also a win for them strategically and possibly psychologically, which is why Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has routinely chided the school of thought that says the Cavaliers are undermanned without Kevin Love and J.R. Smith.

“Any team with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving isn’t shorthanded,” Thibodeau has said numerous times.

Thompson is a menace on the offensive glass, especially when paired with Timofey Mozgov. In Game 1, the Bulls face-guarded him and kept him off away from creating second-chance opportunities, but that test will likely become much harder tonight.

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“Yeah, well you prepare for everybody, all the possibilities,” said Thibodeau when asked if he was surprised about the report stating Thompson would start in the team's morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena.

“He played 37 minutes so we know who he is and how he fits in. He can play at the 5 and at the four and because of all the things LeBron can do, he has flexibility. The biggest concern is the rebounding aggression and we have to be ready for that.”

He only grabbed three offensive rebounds in Game 1, a victory for the Bulls’ game plan, and Joakim Noah was part of the reason why.

Noah’s struggles are certainly in focus, as his offensive confidence has appeared to wane—evidenced by blowing an easy point-blank layup, part of his 0-4 shooting night.

Knowing what Noah’s going through, as far as his surgically repaired left knee that was worked on in the offseason giving him trouble from night to night, Derrick Rose has been appreciative of the effort and not necessarily worried about the stats.

“With Jo, he’s giving us what he’s got. He’s been through a lot,” Rose said. “For a big guy having those injuries, it takes a lot. Just his energy, his presence is a lot. He’s a hell of a character, hell of a teammate and it kinda rubs off on people.”

[MORE BULLS: Bulls should expect a more aggressive LeBron James in Game 2]

But Thibodeau chooses to focus on the nine rebounds and two blocked shots in 29 minutes, and with Thompson’s presence meaning the Cavaliers will play bigger, at least in theory, means Noah will be just as important.

“I don’t want anyone to get lost in his scoring because it’s never been a strong suit,” Thibodeau said. “It’s all the other stuff he brings to the team. It’s not the emotion, it’s the activity. When he does that, he’s very, very effective for us. It’s how the team functions when he’s on the floor. He doesn’t have to shoot well to play well. It’ll come around for him. All players go through it. Don’t let it take away from the things.”

Bulls Talk Podcast: 90s Throwback: Will Perdue discusses the Jordan effect

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Bulls Talk Podcast: 90s Throwback: Will Perdue discusses the Jordan effect

In our 90s throwback series we have been discussing the most important time in franchise history with people that were in it. This week host Jason Goff is joined by NBC Sports Chicago Bulls analyst and former Bull Will Perdue to discuss life as one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport.

(1:18) - Event that let him know this was going to be special

(4:40) - Being a teammate of Michael Jordan

(7:28) - Bulls had plenty of rivalries

(11:40) - Felt bad that Michael stopped other good players from winning

(12:40) - Phil Jackson was a master manipulator

(21:10) - Difference between Popovich and Jackson

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

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Lauri Markkanen to miss extended time with 'stress reaction of pelvis'

Lauri Markkanen to miss extended time with 'stress reaction of pelvis'

Friday afternoon, the Bulls announced that Lauri Markkanen will miss extended time with a stress reaction of his right pelvis.

The stress reaction was discovered in its early stages as a result of an MRI that Markkenan underwent on Jan. 23.

While the Bulls made no mention of a procedure in their statement, Markkanen will undergo a 'period of rest', with a recovery timetable of 4-6 weeks.

This is a surprising and unfortunate setback for Markkanen, who has been enduring an up and down campaign. Markkanen is currently averaging career lows in points (15), rebounds (6.5) and field goal attempts (12) per game. He had been playing through an ankle injury for the past few weeks.

And for the Bulls, it's another layer to a tumultuous month of January. The team is already without Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Otto Porter Jr. for the immediate future.

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