In a game that had about as much energy as you would expect with both teams looking forward to some much needed rest -- from what has been a grueling early-season schedule -- the Bulls (27-8) continued their winning ways at the United Center with a 110-91 win over the Milwaukee Bucks (13-20).
Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau talked about the difficulties of facing a four-day break before the Bulls return to action next Tuesday at home against the New Orleans Hornets.
The challenge is to not go on the break before the break actually starts and then when you do come back, its the same thing; its to be ready and not stay on break, said Thibodeau before the game. Youre faced with that challenge, but its good to get the break so you can get some rest. The important thing is to make sure you dont do it early and you dont stay late.
The win was Chicagos seventh straight against their Central Division foe, with their last loss against the Bucks coming on April 6, 2010 when they lost 79-74 at the United Center.
Joakim Noah recorded his first career triple-double by scoring 13 points to go along with 10 assists and 13 rebounds. All five starters for Chicago finished in double-figures in scoring.
With his 27th birthday just three days away, the fifth-year center was happy with his milestone becoming the 23rd player in franchise history to post a triple-double and first Bulls center since Artis Gilmore to accomplish the feat but more so with the win.
I think that the only reason I was able to do it is because Milwaukee was trying to get the ball out of Derricks hands, said Noah. When they put two on Derrick, Im just making plays off of that. Its really because of him that Im able to make plays.
Its a very humbling accomplishment but were playing for more than that.
Carlos Boozer scored a team-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and Derrick Rose scored 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting and handed out seven assists in 30 minutes of action.
The Bulls dominated the glass, outrebounding the Bucks 49-29 and finished with 32 assists. They are now 16-0 when they register more than 23 assists in a game.
I loved the way the ball moved, said Thibodeau. We were a little careless, our turnovers were high. That was probably the only thing that couldve been better. I thought our inside guys were very good to start. Carlos got established in the post, Jo was terrific with his playmaking.
Noah notched the triple-double towards the end of the third quarter after a dunk led to a three-point play for him and put the Bulls up 91-73. He followed that up by knocking down a 19-foot jumper as the quarter expired and celebrated with his traditional finger guns celebration.
The fourth quarter would simply be a formality as the Bulls rested their starters -- outside of Luol Deng who logged 5:35 of playing time during the period -- and the Bulls lead climbed to as much as 22 points.
With four days off until the team gets back together next Monday, Thibodeau was able to be reflective on the progress of his team at this point of the season.
There were some good things and obviously, there are things that we can improve upon, said Thibodeau. From the start of camp, we strive for improvement each and every day and we want to be playing our best basketball at the end. Defensively, theres a number a things that we have to clean up to do better. Offensively, I still want to play with a quicker pace. We have to do a better job in sustaining our space with the second and third option.