Joakim Noah is ready for the second half of the season now that the All-Star break is over,
The Chicago Bulls are in Toronto to take on the Raptors Wednesday night, but Tuesday they were at the Berto Center for their first practice since the All-Star break. Of course, the talk afterwards was the weekend in New Orleans and the chemistry Joakim Noah seemed to share with LeBron James on the court. But the center was in no mood to discuss it.
“Don’t do that,” Noah said when responding to the question about playing with James. “I had a great time. Now it’s back to work. Happy to be back in the Chi.”
Tom Thibodeau also deflected questions about Noah and James, saying great players can always figure out a way to find chemistry with one another on the basketball court.
“Look, LeBron is probably pretty good with just about anybody,” Thibodeau said. “It’s funny, when you watch those games, it says a lot about the players and the greatness of all the players. Great players always figure it out, they do. They know how to make it work and they know, ‘OK, this is going to work in this situation,’ and that’s a credit to all of them. The league does a phenomenal job with the whole weekend.”
As for Noah’s eight points, five rebounds and five assists, Thibs thought his big man did an excellent job, even though he admitted to being nervous and hoping Noah would walk away from the game unscathed.
“You know what, the second quarter I was a little nervous watching him because all I saw him do was take the ball out of the net and I said, ‘Please just get a bucket and an assist and a rebound, and then get out,’” Thibodeau said jokingly. ““But I thought he was great. The fourth quarter, I think it was a lot of fun for him. I think he’s gotten real comfortable. I think anytime you can have that experience, that’s a big plus, and I think he continues to learn and grow from those situations. But I thought he played really, really well in the fourth quarter. I thought when the game got serious, it was good.”
And Noah agreed.
“I feel good that I was in the game. I wanted to be in the game, and it’s just a good feeling to be able to play at the end,” Noah said. “The intensity definitely picked up a little bit, and I’m happy that we won.”