The battered and bruised Chicago Bulls were supposed to take a first round TKO. The Brooklyn Nets began their first round bout with homecourt advantage and a roster that was healthier than it had be all season. Thibodeau's roster has taken more hits this season than Floyd Mayweather's punching bag. Luol Deng's spinal tap before Game 6 took him out of the picture. Nate Robinson had his face stepped on, Kirk Hinrich's calf injury deprived them of their best defensive counterpuncher against Deron Williams and Derrick Rose has been a no-go all year after tearing his ACL last April.
However, the Bulls bobbed, weaved and jabbed for seven games and ultimately squeaked out a unanimous win of their own. Nobody exemplified Chicago's relentless fight more than Joakim Noah. The Bulls emotional leader played seven games with plantar fascitis that was so debilitating that he considered shutting it down after 13 minutes of action in Game 1. Noah followed through on his guarantee of a win by grinding out 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.