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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Bulls showing patience with Noah

By Nick Friedell

MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah did not have a shot attempt in Monday night's win over the Detroit Pistons, but Tom Thibodeau insists he's not concerned about his young center.

"The thing for him, to me, he's got to run the floor, rebound, play great defense," Thibodeau said before the game. "That's when he's at his best. When he's doing those things, his offense will come. He's a great runner of the floor, he's a great screener. He's a playmaker. So he can help us in a lot of different ways. He doesn't necessarily have to score. His scoring will come around, I'm confident in that. I just want him to think about his defense and his rebounding."

Does Thibodeau think the emotional Noah is starting to feel sorry for himself?

"He's fine," Thibodeau said. "It will come. He's already proven the type of rebounder he is. He's had some foul trouble to deal with and he'll be fine."

Thibs a fan of Love and Rubio: Like most critics around the NBA, Thibodeau is impressed by what he's seen from Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.

"Great feel for the game. Great vision," he said of Rubio. "He keeps the ball moving for them. They put a lot of pressure on you. They've got great speed back there. Their bigs can shoot, they spread you out. But he's got a great feel for the game."

As for Love, Thibodeau sounds like a man who would love to coach the big man one day.

"Obviously, I thought he had a great year last year," Thibodeau said. "Each year in the league he's gotten better. You can see his confidence. He's an all-around player. He's getting to the line nine times a game. Obviously, he's a lot more comfortable with his three [point shot]. Now he's taking five threes a game, shooting 40 percent. He's got great post moves inside, the shot fake. His rebounding is just uncanny. Every game starts and it seems like in the first five minutes he already has six or seven rebounds. I think it's just his relentless pursuit of the ball. He's a multiple effort guy. He's a tough matchup."

Watson and Hamilton still out: Thibodeau said before the game that C.J. Watson (elbow) and Rip Hamilton (groin) were both improving, but neither played on Tuesday night.

While Hamilton remains day to day, Thibodeau reiterated that there is no timetable for Watson at the moment, although Watson has discussed possibly coming back early next week, if not sooner.

"I want to see him go through practice first," Thibodeau said. "He's doing a lot more. Once he can get through practice, then he'll be ready to go. But he's feeling a lot better."