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Saturday, February 12, 2011
Bulls will play faster when Noah returns

By Nick Friedell

NEW ORLEANS -- With the imminent arrival of Joakim Noah back into the Chicago Bulls starting lineup, it's time to ponder just how much different the Bulls' offense will look in a couple of weeks. It's a question Derrick Rose already has an answer to. He knows things will change with the 25-year-old big man running up and down the floor again, and he is looking forward to having him back.

Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah is on schedule to return after the All-Star break.
"It's going to be like an uptempo type game," Rose said before Saturday morning's shootaround. "Kurt [Thomas], with him, you've got to slow things down a little bit. Or you can't keep running up and down with him. But he's been doing a great job for us, trying to do it. But Joakim, when he comes back, I think we'll be back getting more easy points and fast-break points. But we're just going to have to live with Kurt right now. He's been doing great for us, until Joakim comes back."

Like Rose, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau knows the offense will change, it's just that he doesn't think it will change as much as you may think.

"It's not going to change a lot," Thibodeau said. "It will change from an energy standpoint. I think [we'll have] extra possessions, great offensive rebounding and play-making ability. I think when teams are trying to get ball out of Derrick's hands he has the ability to make good decisions with the ball."

For his part, Noah believes that his shot, the one he's been practicing religiously now for several weeks, is rounding back into form.

"Better every day," he said of his jumper. "The tornado is coming back in full effect."

No regrets for Thibs: Thibodeau turned down the chance to become the coach of the New Orleans Hornets over the summer before taking the Bulls job. Before his first game in New Orleans against the Hornets, Thibodeau said he had no regrets about his decision and did not wonder what might have been.

"I was grateful for the opportunity to interview last year," he said. "And it's a great organization, great city, but I'm happy everything worked out the way it did."

Was there a single determining factor that set Chicago apart from New Orleans during the interview process?

"You just trust your instincts in the end," he said. "Going through the process, we were in the Finals actually, when everything was going on. I just, in the end, made a decision based on what I was most comfortable with."

Rose ready for Paul: After a long two-week, five-game road trip, Rose faces arguably his biggest challenge on Saturday night against New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. In Rose's mind, there is one characteristic that makes Paul tougher than most.

"Shifty," he said. "Very shifty. Really isn't that fast, real quick, shifty. Knowing how to get to a spot. Knowing how to get fouled. Runs the team very good, being a leader on the floor. That's why he's one of the best in the league."

The last word: "I feel like we're a pretty good team and we can only get better. We can definitely get better. We have a lot of things to improve on and let's see where it takes us," -- Noah, on what he's picked up from watching his team over the past two months.