Noah, not Rondo, drops triple-double as Bulls top Celtics 100-89
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org December 18, 2012 9:45PM
Bulls center Joakim Noah lets out a yell as the Bulls extend their lead in the fourth quarter of the Chicago Bulls 100-89 win over the Boston Celtics December 18, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: December 21, 2012 10:37PM
Joakim Noah likes the sound of that.
Then again, Noah always walks to the beat of a different drum. So if that means creating a new position to sum up his skill set, so be it.
After his performance Tuesday, he won’t have to do that much of a sell job.
Thanks to the second triple-double of his career, the Bulls manhandled the Celtics 100-89 at the United Center, with Noah going for 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Even Celtics coach Doc Rivers took notice.
“Noah is a terrific player,’’ Rivers said. “He is a great passer and hustles all the time. With [Derrick] Rose out, he makes the decisions out there for them. He is an extremely high-IQ basketball player.’’
Noah almost blushed when he heard about Rivers’ rave review.
“Doc, I appreciate it,’’ Noah said. “I always tell everybody I’m a point center anyway. I always feel like I can pass the ball.
‘‘I feel more comfortable with the offense. We have a lot of guys that can score in a lot of different ways. Luol [Deng] is a great cutter, Carlos [Boozer] catches almost every pass, so everybody. It was a great team effort.’’
But Noah doesn’t focus on stats. After the Bulls wilted in the fourth quarter Monday against the Grizzlies, the convincing victory over a Celtics team with playoff talent was all that mattered.
“It feels great to play well and to win,’’ Noah said. “Everybody is happy right now. I feel like we’re getting so much better as a team. Even against the elite teams in the NBA, I feel like we’re competing against everybody. No one has blown us out this year.’’
Just ignore those Clippers games, Joakim.
But the Bulls had that closer mentality that had been missing in their last few losses, and Nate Robinson played a big part. Robinson came off the bench to score 12 points in the fourth quarter. He went 5-for-7 from three-point range.
“Last time we played them, it was a close game,’’ Robinson said. “I feed off the fans, man. The more they get hyped, the better we play. One thing I take pride in is I play hard every night.’’
Besides Robinson and Noah, the Bulls had four other players scoring in double figures, including starters Deng, Boozer and Marco Belinelli.
“Lu got us going early in the game, and I thought Carlos and Joakim were effective in the pick-and-roll, but we needed everybody,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Not that Thibodeau could overlook what Noah accomplished.
“His skill set is so unique,’’ Thibodeau said. “It gives you an opportunity for more of a cutting game. He played with a lot of energy and made the team function well.’’
And if he created a new position along the way, well, Noah was accepting that with a big smile.