Joakim Noah Returns, But Bulls' Collective Mind Elsewhere In Loss To Raptors

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Joakim Noah's 16 Boards, Derrick Rose's 32 Points Not Enough: Bulls Lose 118-113

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani each scored 24 points and Toronto withstood a furious onslaught by Derrick Rose to down Chicago, 118-113.

Amir Johnson added 17 points, while Jose Calderon chipped in with six points and 17 assists for the Raptors, who snapped a two-game skid. Leandro Barbosa posted 13 points and Sonny Weems recorded 12 off the bench in the win.

Rose scored 19 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, dished out 10 assists and made 14-of-16 foul shots, many of them on drive after drive to the basket in the final period. Carlos Boozer added 24 points and six rebounds, while Luol Deng contributed 19 points. Joakim Noah, in his first game back after missing 30 contests with a right thumb injury, posted seven points and 16 rebounds for Chicago, which saw its four-game winning streak come to an end.


Chicago Bulls Vs. Toronto Raptors: Joakim Noah Is Back!

When Joakim Noah went out with thumb ligament surgery more than two months ago, Bulls fans worried that the team might be hurting without him.

They haven't missed a beat, really -- Kurt Thomas has done an outstanding job in Noah's absence and the Bulls have gone 22-7 since that Dec. 15 game, coincidentally also in Toronto vs. the Raptors.

But the Bulls do miss Noah's enthusiasm and energy, not to mention his rebounding skill. That will be something that, at last, Tom Thibodeau can put together so his team looks the way it was supposed to look when training camp began. The three top players on the team -- Noah, Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer -- have played in the same game only nine times this year, and the Bulls were 7-2 in those games.

This is a perfect time for his return, as the Bulls are only two games off the pace for the top seed in the East and face the Heat at home tomorrow. Here's hoping they don't look past tonight's game, where they will also face former teammate James Johnson, who was traded to the Raptors yesterday for a draft pick.

Tonight's game begins at 6 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.
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