- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- As we wait for the end of Monday afternoon's practice, here are a few leftovers from Saturday night's Bulls win over the Bobcats.
Deng happy for Duke: Luol Deng took a little bit of a ribbing from his teammates on Saturday night, but he's used to it. As a Duke alum, he knows that most people get pretty jealous come NCAA Tournament time. Saturday was no different. His teammate Chris Richard was trying to tell him that the Blue Devils were losing late to West Virginia, but he wasn't buying it. Deng knew better. He knew his team was on the way to another Final Four victory, and he was happy for them. "Duke is going to win it," he said with a smile. "Nah, Butler's a good team, but I think Duke's got a really good team. They play really together."
Don't expect to see Deng in Indianapolis, though. "I'm going to watch it on TV, so I can rewind and stuff like that."
Bulls hit boards: The stat of the night on Saturday was easy: Bulls 56 rebounds; Bobcats 34. The Bulls, specifically Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson (who combined for 31 boards) dominated Charlotte on the glass. So, what was the difference? "I think we fought hard," Noah said. "I think Taj has really improved his offensive rebounding game. I'd like to think he watched me a little bit, but you have to ask him. Nah, Taj has been doing great with the rebounding. We're playing decent, we just got to keep playing hard. And hopefully make this playoff thing."
As for what the Bobcats thought of thought of their rebounding problems on the night. "It was just a disaster," Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas said. "That's all I can say."
Noah dunks on Thomas: Noah made one of the biggest plays of the night when he dunked it on top of his old teammate Thomas. The dunk gave his teammates an emotional boost in the second half and helped get them back on track. Noah didn't seem to have a problem dunking on his old buddy. "Was it weird?" he said, repeating my question. "Nah, it felt great. A couple plays before that he had blocked my shot. I kind of felt his presence out there a little bit. He kind of wanted me to know, don't come in there with that weak hook. I'm happy I got that dunk. He almost blocked it, too."
Thomas returns: Saturday marked the first game that Thomas had played in Chicago since being traded in February, and it was clear that he wanted to play well. He ended up with 10 points and three rebounds on the night, and it was also evident that some of his teammates still wished he was on the Bulls. Noah spoke highly of Thomas after the game. So did Gibson. "It was real fun," the rookie said. "He congratulated me after the game. Just an all around great guy. It sucks he's not with us. But, that's the way this league falls. It was a tough game. It was fun [Saturday] night."