Bulls, Joakim Noah go for season sweep against 76ers
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com February 28, 2013 12:04PM
Chicago Bulls Vs Philadelphia 76ers. Bulls No. 13 Joakim Noah drives to the basket while under pressure from Philadelphia 76ers No. 21 Thaddeus Young. Saturday December, 1 2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: February 28, 2013 12:07PM
Emotion and intensity has been the problem for the Bulls as of late? Well, that shouldn’t be a problem tonight against the 76ers, especially for Joakim Noah.
Noah doesn’t seem to forgive or forget, and the All-Star center would love nothing more than to send the slumping Sixers back to the City of Brotherly Love with another L, sweeping the season series 3-0.
Not only did Noah score a team-high 21 points in the December win back in Philly, but taunted 76ers fans at every opportunity. It was in Philly in which Noah played his last game last season because of an ankle injury.
“I thought about it all summer. I just couldn’t wait to come back here,’’ Noah explained afterwards. “I just felt like when I went down last year, people cheering and stuff, I felt like that was real disrespectful and it was definitely motivating for me to work even harder this summer.’’
And his days of taunting Philadelphia fans didn’t end with just that one and only game there. The plan is to haunt them for that first-round dismissal from the playoffs last April whenever they play and wherever they play.
As for head coach Tom Thibodeau, he continued to preach refocusing on the grind that it takes to win games.
“When you spend as much time as we have on the road, you don’t have the opportunity to practice as much as we would like, but that being said, you still have to make your corrections through film sessions, through your walkthroughs, your meetings, because everybody goes through that, that’s part of an NBA schedule,’’ Thibodeau said after the Thursday morning shootaround. “There’s going to be times where you have days off where you can’t practice, and obviously that’s your best chance of correcting things, but everybody deals with the same issues. Whatever is in front of you, you have to deal with.’’
The Bulls are 4-8 in February, so would love to end the month with some sort of good taste in their mouth. What Thibodeau did insist on was that the poor showing the last three-plus weeks hasn’t put added pressure on Derrick Rose to return sooner than he should from his May surgery on his left knee.
“He’s got a great frame of mind,’’ Thibodeau said of Rose. “He knows exactly what he’s doing, he knows where he is. He’s handled his part great.’’