The Chicago Bulls came into this game against the Minnesota Timberwolves very shorthanded. They figured it would be a long night already without Kirk Hinrich, but when Joakim Noah was a late scratch due to an illness it was not going to be pretty. The results were kind of what was predicted as the Timberwolves beat the Bulls, 95-86.
Coach Tom Thibodeau will never admit the Bulls have no chance against anyone. He is not the type of coach who will give up on his team no matter who is in or out of the lineup. Everyone knows his formula — the next man up. This has held true for the last two seasons because the Bulls’ players believe in the system. But that can only go so far, and when a player like Noah is out of the lineup you have to play almost perfect basketball to be successful. Noah is the emotional leader, the heart of the solid defense and brings so many other elements to this team.
The Bulls did not do enough to make this a game against the Timberwolves. They shot poorly from the field (38 percent) and from 3-point territory (33 percent). They committed 25 fouls and were just out-muscled by the Timberwolves. The Bulls got double-digit scoring from the starters, but with Taj Gibson in the starting lineup, the bench suffered being outscored 35-11.
Hopefully Noah will be back soon because the Bulls surely need their All-Star center. They start a two-week road trip with the first game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls will have to be at full strength on this road trip. If not, it will be the longest two weeks of the Bulls’ season.