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Joakim Noah ready for ‘Hollywood’ sequel against Heat

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau right confers with Jimmy Butler front left Taj Gibsback left Joakim Noah during time

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, right, confers with Jimmy Butler, front left, Taj Gibson, back left, and Joakim Noah during a time out against the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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Updated: February 21, 2013 1:30PM



Joakim Noah is never shy about expressing his feelings, especially when it comes to the “Hollywood as hell’’ Miami Heat.

After beating the “Heatles,’’ 96-89, back on Jan. 4, and doing so in South Beach, not only did Noah question if Miami’s “small ball is going to work against us,’’ but he even predicted how Miami would react the next time the two played.

“I know what’s going to happen,’’ Noah said. “[Head coach Erik Spoelstra] is going to get them hyped for the next game because we kicked their ass on the glass, they’re going to try and make it a physical game, and that’s cool.’’

That next game is tonight, so let the hype begin.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was reminded on Thursday afternoon of Noah’s comments from last month, and all but dismissed them as nothing more than Noah being Noah.

“Talk does nothing,’’ Thibodeau said. “I think it’s made for you guys and he reels you guys in. Hey look, that team won a championship. They’re playing better than anyone in the league right now, so it’s obviously [small ball is] working for them. You have to give credit where credit is due.’’

Three keys for tonight’s game:

1. Hinrich factor – Once again, Kirk Hinrich will be a game-time decision, with Thibodeau breaking the news that the right elbow that forced the starting point guard to miss seven games before the All-Star Break was nicked up. Hinrich played a big factor in ball distribution in that January win, handing out eight assists, and the Bulls were a plus-13 when he was on the floor. If he’s out, that hurts the Bulls offensively and defensively.

2. Board work – Noah dismissed the “small ball’’ so easily, especially because the Heat were outrebounded 48-28 in that loss to the Bulls. Then again, this is a Heat team that has won eight-straight and nine of their last 10, so they have flipped the switch going into the final two months of the regular season.

“For us, we have to do that every game,’’ Thibodeau said of the rebounding. “Defend, rebound, keep our turnovers down. If we do those three things we feel like we’ll be in position to win. So the rebounding component is huge, it’s a big part of winning. We have to do that well. They’re very quick to the ball, we know we have to keep bodies on them. They move the ball very well, so we’re going to be tested in a lot of different ways.’’

3. Turnovers = 2 – No team is quicker than taking a turnover and cashing it in as a SportsCenter highlight than Miami. While the Bulls had 15 turnovers in the win over the Hornets on Tuesday night, in the two previous games they turned the ball over a combined 41 times. They do that against the Heat, it’s “Murder, She Wrote.”

“When you turn the ball over against them they convert so quickly, their athleticism, they’re going to make you pay,’’ Thibodeau explained. “You have to protect the ball, they swarm the ball, you’ve got to be strong with it, and you’ve got to make quick decisions against them. If you hold onto the ball, you dance, they’re too good defensively for that.’’



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