Joakim Noah scored 14 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and had six assists against the Phoenix Suns in the wake of Luol Deng being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers,
If the Chicago Bulls had lost to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, no one would have blamed them. Just hours earlier they’d found out that Luol Deng had been traded away and morale was pretty low.
"It was a big deal because Lu had been here for so long and had such great relationships with everyone on this team, the organization and community," Kirk Hinrich told CSN Chicago. "So he’ll be sorely missed, but what can you do? You have to move forward and we feel like we’re playing good basketball and we have to keep it going."
This group has suffered through more than their fair share of disappointment over the last few seasons. So if they know anything at all, it’s how to play through adversity. Their 92-87 win over the Suns was indicative of the mindset they carry as a group, a mindset which is closely connected to the city.
"I feel like that’s the Chicago Bulls way, and that’s what the city loves about us,” said Jimmy Butler. “We’re going to fight and we’re still expected to win games, so we’re going out there to compete. Nobody can overlook us, that’s for sure.”
If nothing else -- and despite the way they struggled after Derrick Rose suffered his second knee injury -- the players on this roster have pride in themselves and pride in the city they represent. So even when things look bleak, they’re still going to take the court and do their best to win basketball games.
That’s the nature and challenge of this league all the time,” said Tom Thibodeau. “Whatever your circumstances are, make the best of those circumstances. There’s constant changes, whether it’s injury or trade or free agency. The challenge for the team is, ‘OK, do not get distracted with all that other stuff. Get locked in to what you have to do for your team to be successful.’ So that’s what I like about our team. This team has been hit a lot of different ways. But they always get up.”