OAKLAND—For all of Joakim Noah’s gifts on the court, one of the things the All-Star center isn’t is a consistent low-post scoring threat, as evidenced in the Bulls’ 102-87 loss Thursday night to the Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Noah finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists. While that stat line isn’t atypical for him, the fact that he didn’t take advantage of size mismatches against the Golden State’s small lineup inside was an issue in the long run, especially because former college teammate David Lee and defensive anchor Andrew Bogut, the Warriors’ starting interior tandem, were out with shoulder injuries.
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“I think they played small and usually, that works to our advantage, when they play like that. We didn’t adjust well to that tonight,” Noah admitted. “Switching the pick-and-roll, I think I should have done a better job of being aggressive. I over-passed tonight.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t pin his team’s ball-security issues and offensive struggles on Noah, but acknowledged that adjustments could have been made on that side of the ball.
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“They were real small and we were trying to thread the needle, and sometimes I think that’s where you can get hurt because of the size advantage that you have. If you try to force-feed it instead of keeping the ball moving, letting the ball find the mismatch or driving the big. But I thought we were trying to thread the needle and that led to the turnovers,” the coach explained. “We thought initially we were able to do that. Then, they did a good job swarming the paint. But you’ve got to make some shots. I thought it was still winnable down the stretch and we didn’t get it done.”