Gibson In, Noah Likely Out For Game 6

PHILADELPHIA— Before his ankle sprain in Game 5, Chicago’s Taj Gibson was a force of nature against the Philadelphia 76ers. He had four blocked shots in his first 12 minutes of action and chipped in four points and six rebounds.

Gibson AAS – that is, After his Ankle Sprain, as opposed to Before Ankle Sprain – was a shell of himself, without the lift, quickness, lateral movement or explosiveness that made him so valuable for most of the first three quarters that night and on many others. He was slower to the ball, could be ignored by the Sixers’ defense and discouraged none of their shooters, though the Bulls did hang on for their 77-69 victory.

With 48 hours to heal or at least improve for a role in Game 6 Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NBA TV) at Wells Fargo Center, Gibson was sounding like his best old self. “I’m gonna play,” he told reporters before Chicago’s morning shootaround. “The doctors said I can’t do any more harm to it. It’s just how much pain I can take. Just go out there and run.”

Gibson was expected to participate in both the shootaround and the game. The same wasn’t true of center Joakim Noah, whose sprained ankle in Game 3 was more severe and sidelined him completely from Games 4 and 5. Noah still was being called a “game-time decision” by coach Tom Thibodeau, but that’s standard stuff for Thibodeau, who holds his cards close.

Gibson’s value to the Bulls might be boundless but it isn’t incalculable. According to’s advance stats, his net rating of 15.1 when he was on the floor was tops among the Bulls’ rotation players. Defensively, Chicago gave up 88.6 points for every 100 possessions with Gibson active as a shot-contester, help defender and rebounder, compared to 99.8 when Gibson was sitting. And his stats compare favorably to teammate Carlos Boozer, the man Gibson most often replaced; Boozer had a net rating of 5.8 when on the court and the Bulls give up 98.9 points for every 100 defensive possessions.

The key for much of Game 5, and for whatever good comes out of the Bulls’ efforts in Game 6, figures to be Gibson’s and Boozer’s ability to play together. With Noah out and with Omer Asik prone to fatigue and foul trouble, that frontcourt tandem likely will log heavy minutes — Gibson’s ankle willing.

“Carlos and Taj have played well all season together,” said Thibodeau, who considers Gibson capable of guarding all five positions when healthy. “When Carlos has been out, he’s started and handled that extremely well. I think he’s gotten a lot more comfortable playing the [center spot]. I think he and Carlos complement each other extremely well. I also like what Omer has done, which has helped set the tone for the defense.”

Philadelphia is shooting 40.9 percent in the series, including 35.1 percent in the past three games. The Sixers’ edge has come in fast break points (85-58) and free throws made (101-56). Chicago would like to even up the trips to the line (134 attempts to its 90) and hopes familiarity can bog things down on the Sixers’ transition game.

“I think it’s harder and harder to get easy baskets,” Thibodeau said about playoff series in general. “As a series goes on … because of floor balance, if you’re not turning the ball over and you have three defenders back, it’s very difficult to get your true fast breaks. You’re forcing a team more into their secondary options.”


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  2. Denzo says:

    I dont think people are getting the Bulls situation.
    Best player: Rose, is, and has been, OUT.
    2nd best player: Deng, is playing with a torn ligament in his hand
    3rd best player: Noah, heart and soul of team, energy, OUT
    4th Gibson: Excellent player, rebounder and points, now injured


    Everyones healthy.

    And BULLS WILL STILL WIN. I do like Collins though, great coach and smart guy, Brand is sick too.

  3. Fed says:

    Each Bulls’ player must be quite perfect tonight on both ends to beat philly, something like 2 days ago. Especially Taj, he has to be healty and “angry” as ever. Hope to see good things from Rip too, he disappeared after game 1.

    @No Excuses
    There’s a HUGE difference between an injury that allows to play (even with its bad effects) and an injury that doesn’t. And we’re talking Rose and Noah, in my opinion the best two players in the team. I can’t really see other teams with a situation worse than this.

    • No Excuses says:

      History lesson: Game 2 Celtics @ Atlant; no Rondo, no Ray Allen, no Wilcox, no O’Neal, no Green, guess who wins? Celtics. No excuses, man up, and win, stop crying about one player. If the Bulls can’t win without one player, then they don’t know the meaning of the word “team”

  4. Antesha says:

    One thing that a lot of teams don’t have is character. They believe in themselves and in their teammates. So for all y’all hating on the Bulls y’all going to be picking your mouths off the ground when the Bulls make it past the first round.

  5. Steez says:

    there’s a lot of Bulls h8 on here! the Bulls have a chance of winning if Brewer steps up, like he did in game 5, and if Booz and Deng combine for 40+ like THEY did in game 5! Both teams are equally yolked, as far as defense, and that’s why the series has been so boring/ugly. And to the person who said that the Celtics had more injuries…they are right…but let’s see how far THEY could get w/o Rondo. PS Philly’s crowd is the 2nd worst in the playoff series, next to Atlanta, so being at home isn’t as much of an advantage for Philly as it is for Chicago, if the Bulls get a W tonight…the UC WILL be rockin’ and they WILL win game 7. this is as crucial for Philly as it is for Chi.

    • chitown says:

      thats wht im tlking ubout

    • No Excuses says:

      How far could the Celtics get without Rondo? Well, let’s see, Rondo was suspended for game 2, and the Celtics won in Atlanta. Not to mention, Ray Allen, Wilcox, O’Neal, Green were all out injured also. On the other hand the Bulls can’t seem to win in Philly without Rose, even though Philly was the worst team entering the playoffs in the NBA

  6. Matt says:

    Yes, the bulls have lost their best players. But that means that other players with potential are stepping up. Look at Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. They combined for lots of points. Omer Asik has been a mad defender along with Taj Gibson. Ronnie Brewer was great in game 5. If you look at the stats, the sixers have taken way more free throws than the bulls (mostly at the wells Fargo center, I might add). That was probably the primary reason the sixers took the lead most of the time. Sure, tonight the bulls might take 3 free throws and the sixers 30, but the bulls are recovering from the pain of losing D Rose and Joakim Noah. The bulls are ready to get past round 1 and face the celtics or hawks in the conference semis.

  7. Sakuragi says:

    You can’t get a W in 1 player only,just remember that basketball is a team sports!,there are still 10 players in Chicago Bulls uniform to get in the floor to fight.Basketball is round,You can’t predict who will win in the series

  8. Charles says:

    Sorry bulls fans but im bot buying it.Noah is weak and a baby we always knew that and now that rose is down and he knows that their living on borrowed time he has no interest in playing period.I seriously would not want that dude on my team.

  9. chris says:

    yes it will be over. the sun is setting on the bulls. wind blowing through the trees brings new life to the 76ers. birds singing a new song. the pizza is cooked and the cheze is burning. time for the bulls to resign this race. beautiful flowers of springtime represent the hopes of philly. perhaps one day there will be a beautiful blue sky over chicago, but the dark cloud of defeat covers the hearts of bulls fans this year. a sad time indeed.

    • Firas says:

      The new life of 76ers ur talking about is because Rose is injured or they wont see this new life.. this series wouldve been done 4-0 but not sure how happy that makes u winning few games on account of other teams injuries.. but whatever floats ur boat

      • No Excuses says:

        Most teams have injuries, many have more injuries than the Bulls. For example, the Celtics lost Jeff Green, Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Wilcox, and Pierce, Bradlay, Pietrus, Ray Allen are all carrying injuries, but the Celtics are still leading their series. Great teams can overcome adversity, but the Bulls are imploding right now, which does not show good character. But who knows? Neither of those series are over, the Bulls might still make a comeback.

    • hash says:

      wtf are you talking about man dont mix poetry with basketball thats for figure skating

  10. I think the sixers will win this game at home. Can this series be over any sooner its a bad series to watch.

    • Antwan says:

      The bulls will win this game a then game 7 | #SeeRed | #ChicagoBulls

    • dattebayo says:

      If it is a bad series to watch than don’t watch it and stop spamming useless posts no one wants to read anyway.

      Maybe you should watch Game 1 of the Orlando Indiana Series to keep things in perspective…

      • If my post are pointless then why you responding to it dattebayo, i’ve read your post to and there not talking about nothin, iam going to keep post what i want and you are going to do nothing about it dattebayo, and as far as my post i was talkin about the injurys that keep happening to the players, so like i said before can it be over any sooner, and go pacers.

    • Brian says:

      coming from a pacers fan lol someones still mad we eliminated them for the playoffs last year..have fun watching your team get swept next round