Friday , Jan , 25 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Joakim Noah Outplaying Veteran Ben Wallace?


The Charlotte Bobcats visit the Bulls on Friday night, which means another perimeter-based team that starts four shooters. In other words, it’s another chance to monitor whether center Ben Wallace plays down the stretch. When Jim Boylan took over as coach, he went to his veterans and told them he would be riding them. But Wallace no longer is wearing a saddle, sitting the entire fourth quarter in three of the last four games.

Forward Joe Smith, who logged only 14 minutes, joined him on the bench in Wednesday night’s victory over the Pacers.Smith didn’t practice Thursday because of the sore right knee that occasionally flares up. Wallace sits, even in close games, because Boylan is using rookie Joakim Noah down the stretch. ‘Ben is playing well,’ Boylan said. ‘He’s active. He’s guarding guys. Then Joakim gives us a different dynamic. I can’t match up a three-point team effectively with two big guys. Sometimes it’s just the way the game is going.’Noah volunteered often that he didn’t have sets and responsibilities mastered earlier this season. That’s no longer the case. Click here for more from the Chicago Tribune.