Chicago Bulls Vs. Washington Wizards: Joakim Noah Expands The Offense

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Cruise Control: Bulls Crush Wizards With Balanced Effort

Have you ever had a day when everything went exactly as it was supposed to? Everything got done on time, nothing popped up at the last second, it all just...worked?

Well, the Bulls did Monday night as they trounced the Wizards 105-77. Five Bulls scored in double figures, and the NBA's 3rd-ranked rebounding team did it once again with an unreal 56-39 advantage on the glass.

Just to put it in perspective, Chicago averages 44 rebounds a game, a number that most NBA coaches would chop off a finger for. To be fair, between Nick Young and Andray Blatche building a brick outhouse, there were plenty of rebounds to be had tonight. But it illustrates once again the depth and skill of Chicago's front line. Joakim Noah had 11, Carlos Boozer had 10, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik both had 7, even 3-point specialist Kyle Korver had six, tying a season high. 

Every successful team has something they do very well. The Heat run an electric fast break. The Celtics play the best help defense in the league. More and more, it is becoming clear that rebounding is the elite skill of these Chicago Bulls.

On the short list of grumbling for this game are the continued shooting woes of both Rose and Boozer. Rose especially, who is now an ugly 6 for his last 30 from behind the arc. The problem is magnified simply because the team already lacks for shooters. Just as teams stopped trapping Rose with Noah back in the lineup, now they are sagging into the paint and daring him to shoot. 

With Milwaukee and the Wizards out of the way, now begins the real test of the road trip, with Atlanta followed by the Magic and Heat. Team-wide efforts like tonight's will serve the Bulls well going forward. Not only does it ease the burden of the team's stars, but it builds confidence in role players that will serve them well come playoff time. And if you think it's too early to be discussing playoffs just remember that the Bulls now have 41 victories, the same number they had at the end of the 2010 regular season.

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Chicago Bulls Vs. Washington Wizards: Joakim Noah Expands The Offense

If I were to highlight one troubling thing about the Bulls offense, something that didn't rhyme with Smeith Hogans, it would be Derrick Rose's struggles against trapping defenses. Then I read a great interviewwith Bulls and former Thunder assistant coach Ron Adams. Said Adams:

"I can tell you from experience in coaching against Derrick a year ago that we would have never trapped him the way teams are trapping him now because Joakim Noah was on the floor. So basically you pass to Noah and he becomes the playmaker at the free throw line. I will guarantee you whenever Noah is back, you will not see these type of double teams, because last year it resulted in baskets. It's automatic. Also, Joakim is a very good driver from the free throw line area as well, I would say one of our top three playmakers. "

It's with that bit of sunshine and optimism that the Bulls head to the nation's capital to face the ever-struggling Wizards.The Wiz made trades both before and at last week's trade deadline. Gone are Gilbert Arenas and old friend Kirk Hinrich, while newcomer Mike Bibby is in the middle of negotiating a buyout. Washington basically blew up its team to rebuild around star point guard John Wall. And who could blame them? They stunk.

Wizards to Watch:

Wall might be as athletic a point guard as Rose, which I can say about maybe one other player in the league. Watching them get after it would be worth the price of admission all by itself. But throw in Nick Young and JaVale McGee and the conditions are ripe for some wow.

How the Bulls could win:

The Bulls frontline, now seemingly overflowing with players deserving of minutes, should be the focal point of the offense. It would be nice to see a big game from Carlos Boozer, as he went off for 30 and 10 the last time he faced the Wiz bigs. It'll be interesting to see if Noah does indeed play "point center" when Rose is double-teamed. I'm all for it. Joakim would get back into the offensive flow faster, and Rose can rest against the easier teams.

How the Bulls could lose:

Wizards Wall and Young were good enough to hang with Miami for 3 quarters last week before finally falling apart. Washington can score the basketball. On those rare nights that their defense is merely horrible and not atrocious, they've got a shot to beat anyone.

Chicago tries to take the season series against the Wizards at 6:00 p.m. CST. CSN Chicago has the call.

Follow along on Twitter @rightfieldsucks

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