BOSTONDespite his positivity about the Bulls overtime win Friday night over the Celtics, Joakim Noah still has a bone to pick with Boston counterpart Kevin Garnett.
The two centers were tangled up and assessed a double technical foul with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter.
When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since weve been beating their expletive, Im cool with it, he said about Garnett, who he famously called a dirty player during the 2010 playoffs. He wants to win. I want to win. I dont think it will ever be cool.
I feel like I was young and maybe talking a little too much when Noah called Garnett dirty. What happens on the court should stay on the court. I was pretty vocal about it. At the end of the day, all that matters is winning or losing. It doesnt matter. You dont have to like your opponents. The only thing Im worried about is this team. Hes the same way with Boston. Hes worried about his team and getting them going. Im just happy we beat them twice and they beat us once. It was a great game, he continued, before talking about his defense on the Eastern Conference All-Star Game starter, who he held to 1-for-10 shooting through three quarters.
Just playing solid defense, contesting his shots. Hes a hell of a competitor. Hes always on some expletive, just trying to throw elbows, cheap shots, trying to get you off your game. Hes been doing this a long time. But its all right.
Still, the free-spirited Noah later paid Garnett a compliment.
I know if I dont come ready to play, I know hes going to embarrass me, so I would never, ever go out before a game, before I play KG, he said. Im always ready to play when I play Boston.
Noahs coach, Tom Thibodeau talked about how Garnett, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds to Noahs 14 points and 13 boards, impacted the game despite his rough start.
Garnett just works the game, he explained. The first half, nothings really going and then, in the end, making big shots, big plays. He impacts the game in so many different ways.
Prior to the contest, Thibodeau compared the two high-energy big men.
Theyre different. Jos still just getting started. Kevins done it a long time, so its hard to compare the two. They have different strengths. Theyre both fierce competitorsthat part is similarbut their skill sets are totally different, he said. Joakim is still improving, getting better and Kevin has done that for whatever, 15 years, and Kevin, his overall strength, hes at a different place. Jos still getting stronger.
Ironically, Garnett credited Noah before the game, saying the Bulls center has a good chance to make his first NBA All-Star Game.
I think Noahs play is starting to increase, he said. I think hes getting better.