Star, war: Kevin Garnett praises, battles Bulls center Joakim Noah
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com January 18, 2013 11:40PM
Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics
The facts: 7, Ch. 9, 1000-AM.
Updated: January 19, 2013 3:18PM
BOSTON — Celtics power forward/instigator Kevin Garnett just might be warming up to Joakim Noah or maybe not.
In discussing the news that he made his 15th All-Star Game, Garnett was told that TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal said he didn’t deserve the fan vote.
“No doubt,’’ Garnett said Friday. “I think you have other guys like Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, everybody else that’s up and coming, younger guys who could easily be in my position and have the opportunity to start. That wasn’t the case here.’’
Garnett mentioned Noah twice when discussing other worthy players from the Eastern Conference.
“Noah’s play has increased,’’ Garnett said. “He’s gotten better.’’
During the game, however, Garnett and Noah were hit with double technicals.
The reserves are selected by the coaches, and Tom Thibodeau had his own opinion on All-Star-worthy Bulls.
“[Luol ] Deng is certainly [an All-Star],’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He’s shown that he should almost be a lock based on the way he’s played at the start of the season to the finish.
‘‘I think Joakim started off great, sort of tailed off a little bit with the flu, and then Carlos [ Boozer] has been steadily getting better from the start of the season to where he’s playing great right now. I think all three deserve consideration, but those things are so political. I think when you win, it helps, and winning is the most important thing.’’
As Derrick Rose inches closer to full-contact practices, Thibodeau has had to address more questions.
“The big thing for us is you could never replace Derrick individually, and we understood that from the start,’’ Thibodeau said. “So for us, it was to do it collectively. Everyone would have to step up, do their job and put a lot into it, and that’s our only chance. For the most part, we’ve done that.
‘‘Hopefully, we’ll be playing our best basketball down the stretch at the end of the season, and then at some point, Derrick will join us.’’
Thibodeau celebrated his 55th birthday Thursday. When asked if he did anything special in Boston, his former stomping grounds, he said, “No, got ready [for Friday’s game].’’
Sounds like fun.