After losing to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday in game 6, Chicago Bulls‘ center Joakim Noah guaranteed a victory for the Bulls in game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets. However, the odds did not appear to be in the Bulls’ favor as point guard Kirk Hinrich was unable to play in game 7 and small forward Luol Deng remained in Chicago after receiving a spinal tap. That didn’t impact Noah who backed up his guarantee with his stellar play in game 7 and led the Bulls to a 99-93 victory over the Nets in game 7.
Noah simply willed the Bulls to victory on Saturday. The Bulls’ center was 12-17 from field goal range scoring 24 points while gathering 14 rebounds and blocking 6 shots. Noah’s play on Saturday inspired his teammates. Shooting guard Marco Belinelli found success scoring wise once again in game 7 by scoring 24 points for the Bulls. Nate Robinson scored 12 points while playing 33 minutes. Jimmy Butler played the entire game for the Bulls scoring 9 points in the process. Carlos Boozer scored 17 points while compiling 7 rebounds. While the Bulls’ bench scored a total of 13 points, small forward Daequan Cook had +/- of +10 in his 8 minutes of playing time.
For the Nets, shooting guard Joe Johnson may be the one to blame. Johnson struggled significantly on Saturday as the guard shot 2-14 and was 1-9 from three point range for a total of 6 points. Had Johnson had more success shooting, then the Nets may have been the team headed to Miami to play the Heat on Monday instead of the Bulls. The only Nets player that had a positive +/- was small forward Reggie Evans with +9.
The Bulls now begin there Eastern Conference semi-finals series with the Miami Heat. The Bulls and Heat split their season series, however, the Bulls may have exposed a flaw in the Heat by playing with a physical presence. The Heat have the overwhelming advantage over the Bulls, however, it remains to be seen if Bulls fans can say that the team Rose to the occasion once the team’s series with the Heat reaches a conclusion.