Jordan sees Deng as key for Bulls

CHICAGO -- What will surely get lost in the midst of Michael Jordan's proclamation on Saturday that the Bulls may have "six more" titles coming is that Jordan had some serious praise for veteran forward Luol Deng.

"He's the deciding factor for this team in winning a championship," Jordan said. "If he plays well, that helps out their team quite a bit."

When told of Jordan's comments, Deng smiled the type of smile that can only come when possibly the greatest basketball player of all-time gives you that kind of endorsement.

"I've just got to keep on playing better,” Deng said. “Keep on playing basketball. Keep on playing basketball. I appreciate him saying that, but we've got a lot of great guys on this team, a lot of great players. Everyone, just every night, just do their job. And that's really what we're trying to do."

Boozer update: Carlos Boozer said before the game that he was feeling better, but when you see his ankle up close it's hard to see him coming back in the next few days. His left ankle is still very swollen and he was hobbling around the Bulls locker room before the game.

"He's a lot better today," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before Saturday’s 118-100 win over the Utah Jazz. "Making good progress. He's on the bike today, so we'll see how he is [Sunday]."

The last word: Joakim Noah, on if he is noticing a different vibe about the Bulls in the city.

"Everybody sees it. Everybody sees that we're a team that can compete against anybody. But I think for us, it's all about what we think at the end of the day. What people think doesn't help you win basketball games. The only thing that matters is what we think. And we're just focused on improving and not really worried about the extra hype that comes with it."