Joakim Noah: Why Didn't the Chicago Bulls Center Play vs. the Boston Celtics?

Sean O'DowdContributor IIIApril 8, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls moves against Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center on March 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 97-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Watching the game, every Bulls fan was ecstatic to see the team pull through with a convincing win.

There was one very interesting stat line, however: That would be the starter's minutes.

  • Rose:40
  • Boozer: 36
  • Deng:37
  • Bogans: 17
  • Noah: 23???

Joakim Noah simply did not play that much tonight, including not a second in the fourth quarter.

Okay, there are plenty of arguments why he didn't play, but none really make any sense.

First, the injuries. The ankle has been a problem and he has been fighting through pain since he came back from rehabbing it on the bench.

But in arguably the most important game of the season, wouldn't the most competitive player on the Bulls be on the court. Additionally, if Noah was healthy enough to dress, he was healthy enough to play many more minutes.

Maybe he was ineffective? He finished with two points, six rebounds and two assists. Not spectacular, but remember he barely played.

It is incredibly to think that Noah, whose energy and passion can sometimes carry this team by itself was not enough to keep him on the court.

Maybe Thibodeau liked his current group he had in the fourth quarter? Well, he certainly did as they pull out to a large lead and kept it throughout the game. But the fact that Noah barely played more than the hated Keith Bogans is ridiculous. 

So, there are potential reasons why Noah did not play, but it was the Celtics and was arguably the most important game of the season thus far.

The name "Boston" alone should have meant Noah would play at least 35 minutes. 

The man is being paid $60 million over the next few seasons to rebound, defend and maybe get a put-back here or there.

He isn't getting paid that money to not play. Why didn't he play?

All in all, it's just very surprising Noah did not play more. He is too good not to play and the game far too important.

Maybe his injuries are far worse than we as fans know of. All that matters is that he wasn't on the court.