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JOE COWLEY: Let’s not overlook the dissing of Joakim Noah and Luol Deng

Bulls forward Luol Deng gets loose for dunk first half Chicago Bulls 91-81 loss Charlotte Bobcats Monday December 31 2012

Bulls forward Luol Deng gets loose for a dunk in the first half of the Chicago Bulls 91-81 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats Monday December 31, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 25, 2013 6:49AM



CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Joakim Noah isn’t the type to tell a lie. And when he tried, he proved to be bad at it.

‘‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’’ Noah said when asked if he was bothered by the comments from the older brother of his star teammate.

It was after the trade deadline passed Thursday that Reggie Rose, the older brother and manager of Bulls star Derrick Rose, carpet-bombed the front office for its lack of activity.

But there was collateral damage suffered, too, especially by other Bulls players.

That’s what has been glossed over.

‘‘Joakim Noah is a great player,’’ Reggie Rose told ESPN Chicago. ‘‘Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece.’’

In naming Noah and Deng, who were All-Stars, then saying the Bulls needed more, it was a slap in the face.

If you have a ‘‘Big Three’’ in the NBA, you don’t need much more than that. You need parts to fill in around them, but the key ingredient in the formula starts with three.

So what Reggie Rose actually was saying was that Noah and Deng might be ‘‘great,’’ but they aren’t great enough to warrant wearing the ‘‘Big Three’’ tag.

And what do Reggie’s comments say about the rest of the roster?

When I talked with general manager Gar Forman in December, he sounded upbeat about the plan the Bulls had moving forward. And not just this season, but through the 2013-14 season, too. It’s in that offseason that the free-agent class might be of epic proportions, headlined by Miami Heat star LeBron James (if he chooses).

And guess what, Reggie? Little brother is going to have to help in that process. This is a players’ league, and great players recruit other great players. That’s a practice Derrick has stayed away from.

Yes, Derrick Rose is only 24, but windows for championships always close quicker than people expect.

Eventually, every rose wilts.

Player of the week

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs guard: The veteran Parker went head-to-head with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving just before the All-Star break and put up 24 points and seven assists.

He came out of the break to put up 30 points and 11 assists against the Sacramento Kings, but he saved his best work for the Los Angeles Clippers.

In that game, he completely dismantled superstar Chris Paul by scoring 31 points and handing out seven assists in an easy victory.

Team of the week

Heat. The Heat not only is winning games, but it is dominating teams. See Thursday against the Bulls for evidence.

The big five

1. Heat. 2. Spurs.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder. 4. Indiana Pacers.
5. Clippers.

Big number

17The number of first-half turnovers the Bulls committed Thursday against the Heat. They made only 15 field goals during that same time. It was only the eighth time this season a team had more turnovers than field goals in the first half of a game.

Key games for
Feb. 25-March 3

Clippers at Pacers,
7 p.m. Thursday: ‘‘Lob City’’ loves to play above the rim, while the Pacers like to
grind it out with physical play below it. This will be a clash of two very different styles.

Memphis Grizzlies at Heat, 7 p.m. Friday: Very few teams have looked as dominant as the Heat has in the last month, but the Grizzlies are trying to send a message in the West that they are a team to be taken seriously.

Thunder at Clippers, 2:30 p.m. next Sunday: The road to the Western Conference finals might go through San Antonio, but these teams will be fighting to be driving on it.



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