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Omer Asik will start for injured Joakim Noah
PHILADELPHIA — With Joakim Noah out with a twisted left ankle, Omer Asik made his third start of the season.
“Just do the stuff he does well,” coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked what he wanted from Asik in Sunday’s game. “Defend, rebound, screen well, pass well. I just want him to play to his strengths.”
The Bulls lose scoring with Noah on the bench. They will also miss his ability to get his teammates involved with passes from the high post.
“Omer is more in the low post area,” Thibodeau said when asked to compare both his centers’ strengths. “Jo you can move away from the basket. He can play make. He’s a much better shooter than he’s given credit for. Jo can knock down those 16, 17-foot shots pretty consistently. That opens things up for you. That’s probably the biggest difference. They’re both excellent defensively. They’re both very good rebounders. The offensive rebounding is the same. Jo’s play making ability, too, he’s highly skilled.”
Noah’s dribbling and passing ability make him the outlet when opposing teams try to trap the Bulls’ point guards.
“Taj is pretty good at that also, to be able to hit him in the open floor and let him go,” Thibodeau said of forward Taj Gibson, who will back up Asik.
Luol Deng could log some minutes at power forward as well.