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Chicago Bulls 100, Boston Celtics 89: the Importance of Being Joakim

December 19th, 2012 at 2:28 AM
By Brian Schroeder

The Chicago Bulls cruised in what might have been their best-played game of the season Tuesday night, avenging an early season defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

The Bulls were paced primarily by the stellar play of Joakim Noah, who had his second career triple-double. 11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists on 4/7 shooting from the floor, 3/3 from the line, to go along with 3 blocks and a steal. Noah initiated the vast majority of the Bulls' offense, especially during the first few minutes of the third quarter, when shots weren't falling and the Bulls had to resort to bounce passes and foul shots to keep the Celtics at bay. Noah's tenth and final assist came on 20 footer from Taj Gibson, who dropped in a number of jump shots despite playing with an injured leg (#FredClearedHim).

The passing for the Bulls tonight was great all-around, and with the exception of Nazr Mohammed (who played a few garbage minutes at the end) every Bulls player lodged at least one assist on the night. This contributed to their 28-18 advantage over the Celtics, who looked utterly lost whenever Rajon Rondo (26 points, 8 assists) wasn't on the court. Chicago also won the rebound battle, 43-35, with the Noah/Boozer combination both recording double digit rebounds for the 7th time this season.

Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng both scored 21 points on the evening, and they shot a combined 15-26 while doing it. Boozer added 12 rebounds in another good effort against the Celtics, whom he seems to play some of his best basketball against lately.

Player o' the Game: Joakim Noah (11 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal on 4/7 shooting).

Boozer played one of his better games of the season, for sure, but Noah's second career triple double (and his second in this calendar year) was just another example of his growing case as the best center in the Eastern Conference. He's been a true statistical marvel this month, carrying the Bulls through both skill and his trademark effort. Remember when he seemed like a lost cause? Such memories are quickly fading from the minds of those of us lucky enough to do this NBA thing, for either a living or a hobby.

Tags: Boston Celtics, Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, NBA, Rajon Rondo, Taj Gibson

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