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Game 13: Bulls 88, Celtics 79

14 Jan 2012

Three Stars
1. Derrick Rose: 25 points (.519 TS%), 4 rebounds, 7 assists
2. Luol Deng: 21 points (.560 TS%), 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
3. Joakim Noah: 10 points (.425 TS%), 12 rebounds, 4 blocks

You hesitate to make such proclamations this early in the season, especially with so many teams still finding their footing, but this felt like a torch-passing game.

We all pegged these Celtics, aging more rapidly every night, as an order of magnitude below the Bulls and Heat in the Eastern Conference, and Friday’s game, a blowout for most of the way, confirmed those observations.

With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce looking very old, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen weren’t nearly enough against a Chicago team in near-peak form.

You’ll read a lot this weekend about the reemergence of Joakim Noah, another big night on the national stage for Derrick Rose, and a huge all-court performance by Luol Deng, but beyond examining the individual pieces, I was simply impressed by the continuing maturity of a team that looks very capable of winning the NBA title.

If the Bulls fall short this season, it won’t be because they weren’t deserving.

Box Score

Record: 11-2
Next: Saturday 1/14 vs. Toronto, 7:00 CT

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