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Noah’s triple-double leads Bulls to 100-85 win over Hawks

CHICAGO IL - FEBRUARY 11: Joakim Noah #13 Chicago Bulls rebounds over EltBr#42 AtlantHawks United Center February 11 2014 Chicago

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 11: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls rebounds over Elton Brand #42 of the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on February 11, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Updated: February 11, 2014 10:38PM



The end game for Joakim Noah is to be holding up the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy at the end of the season, but the big man admitted on Tuesday that falling short of that doesn’t mean this current Bulls roster didn’t have a successful year.

“That’s always the ultimate goal and there’s nothing more than I want than to win a championship,’’ Noah said. “Right now it’s about building the right habits, playing in those big games.’’

Putting up a triple-double might just qualify under that “right habits’’ category.

Thanks to Joakim Noah’s fourth career triple-double and first of this season, the Bulls (26-25) jumped Atlanta for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff seedings, beating the Hawks 100-85 at the United Center.

Noah was a big reason why, scoring 19 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, handing out 11 assists and even registering three blocks.

“Don’t get me wrong: We want the highest seed as possible,’’ Jimmy Butler said of jumping the Hawks. “But we don’t pay attention to who is in front of us and who is behind us.’’

Taj Gibson once again got the start for the injured Carlos Boozer (left calf), scoring a game-high 24 points, as well as grabbing 12 rebounds.

Building momentum

Nikola Mirotic told MARCA.com that he loves the idea of playing for the Bulls this offseason, and “a decision will be taken soon.’’ In winning MVP honors for Real Madrid this season, the 23-year-old could be in a bidding war between his current team and the Bulls, with $7-$9 million per season the likely asking price to land him.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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