Joakim Noah guaranteed what was perhaps one of the biggest upsets in playoff history since Joe Namath predicted the Jets upset of the Colts. His prediction counted on bench players-turned-stars in the photo with him (from left Noah, Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson) leading the injury-depleted Bulls into Brooklyn to become only the 23rd road team out of 112 to win an NBA Game 7. The player-by-player comparisons based on exclusive Breitbart Sports ratings show the magnitude of the upset:
|Rk||PLAYER||Game 7 Notes||Rk||PLAYER|
|36||Joakim Noah, CHI||Joe Namath, guarantees win, 24 pts/14 Reb to Lopez 21/9||10||Brook Lopez, BKN|
|65||Carlos Boozer, CHI||17 pts., Williams better at 24 pts/7 ast||18||Deron Williams, BKN|
|94||Nate Robinson, CHI||33 min. PG back from flu to just 9 pts for Blatche||67||Andray Blatche, BKN|
|131||Jimmy Butler, CHI||48 min. guarding best Net player to Johnson’s 2 of 14||118||Joe Johnson, BKN|
|164||Taj Gibson, CHI||20 min. to Watson’s 5 pts||197||C.J. Watson, BKN|
|326||Marco Belinelli, CHI||24 pts., 41 min. to Evans 13 reb||205||Reggie Evans, BKN|
|327||Nazr Mohammed, CHI||6 min. to Humphries 3 pts, 5 reb||208||Kris Humphries, BKN|
|433||Marquis Teague, CHI||14 min., 4 pts., 3 asts to Wallace 19 pts, 5 ast||238||Gerald Wallace, BKN|
Noah predicted the upset despite less than 20 percent of all road teams winning road games in NBA history and the Bulls missing three key starters to injury and coming off a lopsided loss to the Nets in Chicago.
According to the exclusive Breitbart Sports “Total Value” ratings to be released, the Bulls were missing the ninth best player in the NBA (Derrick Rose), 88th best player (Luol Deng) and Rose’s back-up point guard and 285th best player Kirk Hinrich. However, Noah outdueled the bigger Nets center Brook Lopez in points (24 to 21) and rebounds (14 to 9) and had a key rejection off Lopez in the stunning 99-93 upset. Noah came in ranked in the top 10 percent of all players at 36th, but well behind Lopez (10th).
The Bulls second best available player, Carlos Boozer (65th), also put in a strong game, but the other big news was the Nets second best player and 18th best player in the league, Deron Williams, did not get to the rim at will against the third and fourth string point guards in Robinson and 19-year-old Marquis Teague. He hit four three-pointers, but was only four of nine on two-pointers and four of six on free throws – not getting to the rim to draw fouls or score from inside. The reason he did not was the the smaller guards did not guard him – instead the Bulls Jimmy Butler took him on, replacing hospitalized Luol Deng as the Bull who would guard the best Nets player on the court at any time. Butler was a bench player, but played 48 minutes for the second consecutive game as Deng went into the hospital with the flu, drawing praise from Williams.
“It was tough with Jimmy Butler on me,” Williams said in the post game press conference when asked if he should have gone to the hoop more often. “He is a taller, more athletic defender.”
The Bulls reward for winning the only Game 7 so far in the playoffs is a late night flight Saturday to Miami, where they will have to take on the well-rested and heavily favored Miami Heat. If Deng is not back, Butler will likely guard the best player in the league in LeBron James or his fellow Marquette grad Dwyane Wade.