Joakim Noah back in fine form
BY HERB GOULD email@example.com
The Bulls’ 62-20 regular-season record is remarkable. Factor in that they were 38-15 without forward Carlos Boozer or center Joakim Noah, including 3-1 with both out, and it’s even more impressive.
Now factor in that with Noah looking unaffected by his sprained right ankle, the two big men look healthy for the playoffs.
‘‘Sixty-two is a great number,’’ Noah said. ‘‘We’re happy about it, but we’re not satisfied. We don’t want it to end here. Now it’s a new season. We understand that it’s going to be tough, and we’ve got to stick together. When we realize that, we can do something special.’’
While playing an energetic and active 51 minutes in the last two games, Noah has contributed 23 points and 13 rebounds, serving notice that he’s ready.
Butler did it
Guard Ronnie Brewer, a key member of the Bench Mob, said he’s ready to play through the sprained left thumb he suffered Tuesday against the New York Knicks.
If he’s limited or other situations arise, coach Tom Thibodeau said he likes his depth — and with good reason. With recent free-agent signee Rasual Butler contributing 10 points while Brewer sat, the Bulls’ bench delivered 50 points in their 97-92 victory Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets.
‘‘The thing I like about our team is all 15 guys can play,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘They all stay ready.’’
The Bulls head into the playoffs with a nine-game winning streak, their longest of the season. . . . The Bulls were 3-1 against the Indiana Pacers during the regular season, losing the last meeting 115-108 in overtime March 18 in Indianapolis. . . . This will be the Bulls’ first postseason matchup against the Pacers since the 1998 Eastern Conference finals, which the Bulls won in seven games.