With Joakim Noah missing his first game of the season the Chicago Bulls had every right to be a little worried. Whether or not they were didn’t show as they went on to beat the Orlando Magic 96-94 and extending the Magic’s losing streak to nine games. Now, with an impact player like Noah on the bench how did Chicago manage to win? They won with stellar performances from Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.
It should come as no surprise that these two played well seeing as they were the primary big men and the ones responsible for filling the gap left by Noah. Boozer dropped 31 points and grabbed 11 boards while Gibson added 21 points and 11 boards as well. But despite a season high in points from Boozer and Gibson’s best performance so far this season we can’t expect these two players to perform like this every time an injury sidelines a player. Why? Because this may have been a rare showing of production from both players.
I’m not saying that injuries are going to devastate this team forcing players to miss extensive time. But what I am saying is that the Bulls cannot expect this to be the norm when injury (or illness) strike. I wrote about the mentality that Chicago must take when thinking about injuries and sickness hitting their team and last nights game may serve as a counter to my argument. Despite the outcome of the game though, it’s clear that this won’t happen every time a player has to sit. But it happened last night didn’t it? Why can’t fans expect performances like this more often? The answer is simple and all it requires is a quick glance at the box score. With a game ending as close as it did and with the Bulls almost blowing an 18-point lead it is clear that players had to step up. Gibson and Boozer happened to be the players who did (as well as Luol Deng who added 23 points.)
The conclusion is this: even though Boozer and Gibson had great games it can’t be expected that they will perform like this every time a key player sits. So, if anything, this game points to the need for Chicago to look into free agency or to negotiate a trade.