Bulls healthy going into Celtics game

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
12:05
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was able to report something Thursday he hasn't been to do much of this season -- everyone participated in the morning shootaround and is healthy to play.

"It's great, great," Thibodeau said at the United Center on Thursday morning. "Good to have everyone out there. Just get ready for the next game."

Thibodeau has had to adjust his lineup for nearly the entire season due to injuries. Aside from losing Derrick Rose for the season after 11 games, the Bulls have also been without Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich for a combined 26 games.

Bulls center Joakim Noah was pleased to have everyone on the court prior to playing the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

"I think it's great," Noah said. "We've just got to keep grinding; a lot of basketball left, and I think that if we just keep grinding, keep our minds into it, it could be a hell of a year."

One of the reasons for Noah's optimism is the state of the Eastern Conference. Only the top three teams in the conference have a record better than .500. The Celtics are the eighth seed with a 13-18 record, and the Bulls fall just behind them at 12-18.

Noah said he's aware of the standings.

"Yes, of course," Noah said. "It's our job. We do pay attention to it. ... They're lying [if players say they don't pay attention]."

Thibodeau also likes the Bulls' potential this season. He certainly doesn't have any intention on tanking to get a better draft pick.

"Yeah, you can't think that way," Thibodeau said. "Once you allow that to creep in, you're heading down a slippery slope. To me, we all owe it to each other and the organization to give everything we have every single day. You don't look at it that way at all.

"I'm looking at our team and I like the possibilities. I love our team. I like the fact we have everyone back now and we have to work. I'm excited about that."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5