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Joakim Noah will give Boston big problems in the paint
This one may be a bit of stretch at the moment, but it won’t be for long.
Until Derrick Rose’s horrific knee injury ruined the Bulls’ championship hopes last season, they were the second-best team that Boston would have had to beat to advance in the postseason.
He’s not back yet, and it will be impossible to know if he’ll be the same once he returns. One thing is certain: D-Rose’s team and fan base will rally heavily around him once he does. The energy in Chicago that will surround their star’s recovery should bring the Bulls right back into the picture when it matters.
When fully healthy, Chicago possesses enough talent to compete with every team in the league. More importantly, they match up very well against Doc Rivers’ Celtics.
Rose is among one of the few point guards in the NBA who could be called better than Rajon Rondo. Wingman Luol Deng is a terrific perimeter defender who will considerably limit Paul Pierce’s effectiveness.
But perhaps the most problematic matchup this year for Boston will be trying to keep Joakim Noah off the offensive glass. The Celtics haven’t had very much success against anybody in this department; Noah’s motor in the paint will be a major obstacle for the C’s to overcome.
Lastly, Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau—who recently received a four-year extension on his contract—knows the ins and outs of Boston’s system. He was the assistant coach during Boston’s 2008 Finals run, and his defensive coaching was a large reason behind their success at that time.
Since his departure, the Celtics defense has never fully regained that special look they had about them in ’08. If the Celtics are to make another deep run this year, they better find that level of play quickly.
Learning from competition with the rival Bulls over the course of this season might be just the boost they need.