Noah’s triple-double leads Bulls over Carmelo, Knicks
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter March 2, 2014 2:24PM
Updated: March 3, 2014 10:53AM
In case Carmelo Anthony needed a reminder of what might await him next season, he was given a full dose of it Sunday — mouth pulled open, spoon jammed in and forced to swallow, with the Bulls manhandling Anthony’s New York Knicks 109-90 at the United Center.
Center Joakim Noah had a triple-double for the Bulls.
Anthony, who can opt out of his contract this summer, has said on many occasions this season that he wants to win, and rumors that the Bulls could be a destination haven’t gone away.
It would have to come through a sign-and-trade between the teams unless Anthony simply is willing to accept less money to join the Bulls.
Both scenarios seem like a stretch.
But if winning is what he wants . . .
While the Knicks (21-39) remain a failed one-man show — Anthony led them with 21 points in the loss — the Bulls (33-26) have now won nine of their last 10 games and have done so as a team.
Noah’s unselfish play remains a big reason why. He finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists for his second triple-double of the season and the fifth of his career. The 14 assists were the most by an NBA center since at least 1986.
‘‘Just dribble, hand-off, guys hitting shots,’’ Noah said. ‘‘It’s really all my teammates. We feel like we’re the hungriest team playing in the NBA.’’
Seven Bulls finished in double digits, led by D.J. Augustin (23 points), but Noah was again the catalyst.
The game wasn’t without a scare in the third quarter. Noah sprained his right ankle and eventually left for the locker room. He returned in the fourth quarter but said afterward the ankle ‘‘felt like [crap].’’
As for Anthony, he has been closed-mouthed about his future but said he did notice fans’ signs at the United Center calling for his arrival.
‘‘Yeah, I saw a couple of those,’’ he said.
Asked for his thoughts, he said they were “good’’ signs — ones you assume he’s reading very closely.