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Noah gets some Z’s, helps Bulls get ‘W’

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) dunks over New Orleans Hornets forwards Ryan Anders(33) Anthony Davis (23) during second half

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) dunks over New Orleans Hornets forwards Ryan Anderson (33) and Anthony Davis (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. The Bulls won 96-87. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

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Updated: March 21, 2013 6:46AM



NEW ORLEANS — The amount of sleep center Joakim Noah had since heading to Houston for All-Star Weekend is still up for debate.

Noah says not much at all. And he says it with a smile.

Coach Tom Thibodeau says — without a smile — that we’re all idiots for believing anything Noah says.

“I got a good one last night, though,’’ Noah said of his Monday evening in New Orleans.

It sure looked like it Tuesday. Noah scored 15 points and had 17 rebounds in the Bulls’ 96-87 victory over the Hornets at the New Orleans Arena.

“Overall, everybody, we played with the right edge from the beginning to the end,’’ Noah said. “Even when things weren’t going our way, we brushed it off and got focused. It was always about the next play. A lot of guys stepped up, and it was a great team win.’’

That was all Thibodeau cared about, especially for a team that had lost two straight going into the break and looked sapped of energy and intensity. Thibodeau wanted his team to get back to showing some fight, and that started with Noah.

“The biggest thing was that [Noah] practiced great [Monday], and he practiced great [Tuesday morning],’’ Thibodeau said. “That, more than anything, told me he was ready to go.

‘‘That’s what we expect from him, and that’s what we need from him as a leader of the team. It was great to see the approach he had coming back from the break. He didn’t stay on the break; he was ready to go.’’

As was guard Kirk Hinrich, who had missed the previous seven games with an infected right elbow. Hinrich only scored five points, but he had 10 assists and three steals.

“For being out as long as [Hinrich] was, it was seamless,’’ forward Carlos Boozer said. “He got everybody involved, hit some big shots and played great defense.’’

Believe the hype

Thibodeau didn’t get to see much of forward Anthony Davis during Davis’ high school days, but he watched the Chicago product at Kentucky and definitely has noticed his impact as a rookie for the Hornets.

Davis even brought out a wow from Thibodeau.

“He’s a basketball player,’’ Thibodeau said. “You can see that he’s getting more and more confident each time he gets on the floor. He does a lot of things that you can’t teach.’’

Davis had 15 points and 10 rebounds.



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