The Bulls have played eight games since Joakim Noah had thumb surgery.
They are 6-2 during that stretch. So they are winning.
However, they are not running. Not like they were before Noah’s injury.
In their eight Noah-less games, the Bulls have a total of 81 fast break points. That works out to an average of 10.1 per game. And that stat is somewhat padded by the 28 transition points the Bulls scored in that “nobody saw this coming” 45-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
More notably, the Bulls had only six fast break points in their home loss to the Clippers. They had three fast break points in their Christmas day loss to the Knicks in New York.
Here’s the eight-game breakdown (from the ESPN.com box scores):
Bulls Fast Break Points without Noah:
6 vs. Clippers
28 vs. Sixers
7 @ Washington
3 @ New York
12 @ Detroit
8 vs. Minnesota
9 vs. Nets
8 vs. Cavaliers
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote about this before the Nets game, noting that “Noah’s last game before surgery ended a string of seven straight games with double-digit fast-break points, a pace [coach Tom] Thibodeau seeks.”
It’s tough to maintain the team’s previous pace when replacing a sprinter like Noah with the relatively fossilized Kurt Thomas. But that’s what the Bulls have to work with until Noah gets back. Thibs will continue imploring his players to get out in transition. The formula is pretty simple: Defend, rebound, outlet pass, run.
The weakness has been noted. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s fixed.