MVP: Nobody new takes this spot—it’s Joakim Noah. His energy doesn’t show up on the box score, but his 24 points, 14 rebounds (seven offensive) and six blocks do. Noah became the second player, joining Elvin Hayes, to rack up that stat line. He looks healthier than he has looked in months, and he was all over the court as usual. As a Bulls fan you have to love this guy.
LVP: Joe Johnson is making $19.7 million this season. In a Game 7, he went 2-14 from the field, including 1-9 from three and tallied six points. Marquis Teague nearly matched his output.
X-factor: The Nets grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, which is not good at all for the Bulls. But Brooklyn converted those boards into just 16 second chance points. The Bulls scored 20 second chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. When Chicago got the opportunity they took it, while the Nets failed to take advantage. That could be said for much of this series.
Defining moment: Withfive minutes left in the game,Joakim Noah grabbed an offensive rebound off of a miss from Nate Robinson. Noah then dished it to Robinson who found Marco Belinelli for a triple to put the Bulls up ten. Belinelli did a little dance and the Nets would never get closer than six the rest of the way.
That was… “Bulls-like”: The Bulls had no right to be in this series. They had injuries piling up and there was more talk about one guy not playing than the 12 guys that were. They could have quit. But Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t allow that. Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Nate Robinson and the others wouldn’t allow that. This team isn’t the best offense, or the most exciting, but they couldn’t care about that. They go out and fight every night and that’s something that should be respected. Noah said it best after the game:“I’m just so proud of this team.”
The Bulls play Miami in the second round starting Monday night.