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Bulls' Joakim Noah to play in Game 1 against the Nets

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Joakim Noah's status on Friday was mostly unknown as he talked about a setback he was dealing with in regards to his plantar fasciitis.

But knowing the Bulls desperately need him, Noah is going to attempt to play in Game 1 against the Nets on Saturday.

"I'm feeling a little better," Noah told reporters, via the Chicago Tribune. "I just want to help the team as much as I can."

While Noah is going to give it a go, he will likely be limited. He will start the game though.

With Brook Lopez being such an offensive force inside, Noah is extremely important to Chicago. The Bulls went 3-1 against the Nets this season, and possibly not coincidentally, the loss came in one of those 15 games Noah missed (a win came without Noah, too, though). Brooklyn of course has an elite offensive 7-foot center in Lopez and without Noah, a legit contender for Defensive Player of the Year, the Bulls struggled to seal off the middle.

In the 93-89 loss on Feb. 1, Lopez was Brooklyn's high scorer with 20 points on 9 of 16 shooting. In Chicago's 92-90 win on April 4, Noah sat and Lopez scored 28 on 10 of 19 shooting. In the Bulls' 96-85 win on March 2, Lopez scored 22 on 9 of 16, but Noah poured in 21 on 10 of 13 himself, along with 10 rebounds and five assists.

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