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Bulls’ Joakim Noah can take first-team spot to the bank

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah listens head coach Tom Thibodeau during second half an NBA basketball game against HoustRockets Chicago

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah listens to head coach Tom Thibodeau during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Chicago on Thursday, March 13, 2014. The Bulls won 111-87. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: April 17, 2014 6:26AM

Joakim Noah doesn’t want to get involved with all the hype surrounding his candidacy as a first-team All-NBA performer.

But he might want to start, considering he has a $500,000 bonus check coming his way if he receives that honor at the end of the regular season.

The way Noah has been playing since January, you can go ahead and pencil him in. Shhhh, just don’t tell him.

All-Scowleys first team

Guard: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. The Warriors still would love to see his decision-making and turnovers improve, but Curry is the ultimate scoring point guard and, unlike Chris Paul, is durable.

Guard: James Harden, Houston Rockets. Sure, ‘‘The Beard’’ was just handcuffed by Bulls guard Jimmy Butler on Thursday night, but there’s very little Harden can’t do with or without the ball in his hands.

Forward: LeBron James, Miami Heat. Give him his fifth NBA MVP Award after swiping away the overexcitement about Kevin Durant.

Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s the second-most valuable player in the league behind James and, like James, continues to show he will do whatever it takes to make improvements.

Center: Joakim Noah, Bulls. Noah is unlike any other NBA center, and his days in the shadow of Derrick Rose are over. His versatility is unmatched at the position, as are his intangibles.

Player of the week

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers forward. The NBA’s best in-game dunker continues to show an outside jumper and is in the second tier of the MVP conversation.

Team of the week

San Antonio Spurs. Not bad for an old, boring team that just wins games. After beating the Heat on March 6, they had impressive wins in Chicago and against the Portland Trail Blazers a night later.

The big five

1. Heat. 2. Spurs. 3. Thunder. 4.  Indiana Pacers. 5. Clippers.

Awful for Andrew

The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Milwaukee Bucks. 2.  Philadelphia 76ers. 3. Orlando Magic.

Big numbers

3-0 The Brooklyn Nets’ record against the Heat this season. The Nets had been 0-9 against the Heat since the ‘‘Big Three’’ of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came together.

Two to watch

Thunder at Bulls, 7 p.m. Monday. The Bulls are still trying to see where they stack up in the hierarchy of NBA elite, and the Thunder will be a great test.

Spurs at Warriors, 9:30 p.m. next Saturday. The Warriors are fighting for home court in the first round of the playoffs.


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