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Updated: November 8, 2013 12:36PM
The comments from Pacers forward Paul George didn’t go unnoticed.
“We want to step away from that shadow as the ‘little brothers’ of this division,” George told NBA.com following the 97-80 Indiana win Wednesday night. “[The Bulls’] success is the Michael Jordan era. This is a new age, this is a new team. It’s ours till they take it.”
No wonder Joakim Noah was smirking when asked about it after the Friday morning shootaround.
“It’s all good,’’ Noah said. “It’s Game 5 of the season, man. It’s a long journey. We’ll see those guys again.’’
Asked if the rivalry is now further escalating, Noah replied, “To me it doesn’t matter. They want the same things that we want, and anybody that wants what we want I don’t really like at this point, so right now it’s not about them, it’s not about anybody. It’s about us. We got to get better, that’s our mindset.’’
Taking that step to get better begins tonight, as the Bulls host the Utah Jazz at the United Center. And as far as what the 1-3 Bulls need to improve on, Noah summed it up in one word: “Everything.’’
“We’re a work in progress, we just got to keep grinding,’’ Noah said. “It’s gonna come, it’s gonna come. We work too hard, and I think that we’re playing against a very good team [in Utah]. Even though they’re 0-5, they have a lot of talented players and are very capable, so we have to come with the right mindset tonight.’’
According to coach Tom Thibodeau, everyone is healthy and a go, which means the starting lineup will be the usual suspects of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer.