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Deng and Noah gametime decisions vs. Mavericks on Saturday

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Joakim Noah sat out Friday’s afternoon practice with tightness in his hip and will be a gametime decision for Saturday’s game vs. the Dallas Mavericks.

The All-Star big man wasn’t sure when he started experience the tightness, but started feeling it after doing some shooting at the Bulls practice facility on Thursday. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that he wanted Noah to get an extra day of rest.

“He just has some tightness in his hip, so we’ll see where he is tomorrow,” Thibodeau said.

Luol Deng went through most of the practice and will also be a gametime decision for Saturday after missing the previous three games because a sore left Achilles.

Jimmy Butler also went through all of practice after an injury scare in Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn, in which he said his ‘knee gave out.’

The Bulls (11-16) are hoping to build off of their first string of wins since their five-game win streak in early November and Thibodeau was pleased by the team’s play in Brooklyn on Christmas, in which they held their opponents to just 35.2 percent shooting, while shooting 48.6.

“I thought it was a very good all-around game,” he said. “We started slowly defensively, but we were very good offensively. I loved how quick we moved the ball. I thought we got some easy baskets once we got our defense going, had the opportunity to get into the open floor, which I thought was important. I thought the two point guards together was good. I just liked that we remaking quick decisions with the ball.”

Thibodeau also touched on the team’s decision to send Marquis Teague back to the Developmental League with the team’s affiliate Iowa Energy.

“It’s not a demotion, it’s not anything like that. It’s an opportunity to get some playing time,” Thibodeau said. “And when I say playing time, we’re hoping it’s significant, where it’s three quarters of a game so he can just play. He’s had some good moments here. We want him to continue to develop. We think it’s a good opportunity.

“There’s a lot of guys that have come out of that league that have gotten significant roles in the league. You look at the history of the minor leagues, you look at Bruce Bowen, Mario Elie, John Starks… you can go on and on,” the coach continued. “In many ways, it might be better than college basketball. You see a lot of good players that come out of that league and there’s a lot of guys that get better year after year. We don’t view it as a negative and I’m pretty sure that (Teague) doesn’t either.”


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