Noah ejected from emotional affair, doesn't anticipate a suspension


Noah ejected from emotional affair, doesn't anticipate a suspension

NEW YORK Nine technical fouls, 50 personal fouls, a dominant Bulls performance, an improbable and ultimately failed Knicks comeback and Patrick Ewing at Madison Square Garden. Just a regular Friday night in Manhattan if it were 20 years ago.

Native New Yorker Joakim Noah never shies away from being a villain in any NBA arena outside of Chicago, so it wasnt exactly a shock when, with tensions rising, he was ejected after garnering his second technical of the evening following a pseudo-altercation with former Bulls center Tyson Chandler, his main competition for an inaugural All-Star Game bid. With 4:39 left in the contest, as the two centers were battling for a rebound, tempers flared Chandler was trying to go after Noah; Noah retaliated and both were tossed.

Things happen. But we won the basketball game and I wish that we wouldnt have got ejected. Two guys, just trying to go for a rebound and unfortunately, guys got ejected, Noah, in good spirits, said afterwards, before being asked by a reporter if he feared being suspended for the incident.

Suspension? For what? What did I do? He head-butted me, he said. Come on, guys. Im trying to play tomorrow. I love this game.

For Chandlers part, the affable big man didnt hold a grudge, telling reporters, I dont think he Noah is a dirty player at all. It was a frustration of the game and we got tangled up. That was that.

Noah now has a league-leading seven technicals on the season, something Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau wasnt pleased with, though he somewhat absolved the center later by also noting that starting with me, fourth-quarter technical, meaning that the former Knicks assistant was also a bit caught up in the moment.

They were tangled up. Jo played a great game. The thing is, you cant put it in the officials hands and we should have all recognized that. They had enough, they werent taking anybody talking to them. I think he was trying to make a point and he got thrown out, so that hurt us, said Thibodeau, who added that he didnt think Noah would be suspended. This year, he got healthy this summer and hes playing a complete game, and thats why its disappointing that he couldnt finish the game because hes a big part of the press break. We throw him the ball and hes a great free-throw shooter, and he has size to pass over the trap, so we missed him, but hes done a great job all year. Hes taken good care of himself, hes healthy and to me, hes playing at an extremely high level. Hes an elite player now.

As far his own technical, Thibodeau added: Well, he gave it to me, so apparently I did. But I thought we had a lot of things going against us. I tried to make a point and he didnt want to hear it.

Noahs fellow New Yorker, Taj Gibson, while he didnt play much due to an ankle injury, identified with his teammates feelings during the intense affair.

It was so much emotion, especially when we were going up. It felt like you were playing in a street tournament, the way the crowd really gets so into the game and talking to you, youre talking to them, he said. They know they game, like they know screen-and-rolls, they know missing box-outs. They were saying everything to you, so its a crazy feeling, but Im just happy we could get the win.

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Who are the Bulls? The team that beat Cleveland and Toronto or lost to Dallas, Minnesota and Milwaukee?

That's the question Bulls fans are currently asking and the one Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill posed in the video above.

The Bulls have had impressive wins and shocking losses, but neither of those should be surprising at this point. The Bulls are, as Goodwill put it, consistently inconsistent.

The first half of the season has proven that Dwyane Wade still has some memorable moments left to give and Jimmy Butler continues to approach superstardom. On the downside, the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo has meant the 'three alphas' that were hyped up in the preseason haven't been the dynamic trio some Bulls fans had hoped.

Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have the shooters his system needs, but can he still rally the troops and get something out of Rondo?

Watch the video to see Goodwill's look back on the Bulls' first half and what could be ahead.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Watch as the Bulls take on the Mavericks tonight on CSN+ and streaming live on Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. What's Jimmy Butler got in store? On paper, Butler's performance Sunday night against the Grizzlies was nothing special. In fact, in many ways it fell short of his season averages. But Jimmy G. Buckets was on his game in the fourth quarter when the Bulls needed him most, helping them to a crucial road victory in Memphis. Tonight a fast start will be key against a Mavericks team that struggles to play from behind.

2. Dirk Nowitzki is back. The Mavericks are finally getting back to full-strength, and the main contributor to that is Dirk Nowtizki. The future Hall-of-Famer is finally rounding into form after an Achilles injury kept him out of the lineup most of the year. In his last three games, Nowitzki is averaging 20.3 points on 49 percent shooting.

3. There was at least some rumblings that the Bulls might have considered going after Ames native Harrison Barnes this past offseason. Instead, Barnes wound up in Dallas a potential building block for the Mavs. And he's looked pretty solid through the season's first half. Barnes is averaging 20.7 points on 48 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds and nearly a steal per game in 36 minutes. It'll be a fun matchup watching him go against Jimmy Butler.

4. More 3-pointers on the way? It's easy to say that a 31-point outing will get you going, but maybe Doug McDermott can build on his career night against the Grizzlies. He hit 3 of 6 triples, made 10 of 11 free throws and even added six rebounds and a(nother) block. The Bulls will be able to run more against the Mavs than they were the Grizzlies, meaning more spacing for McDermott to find open shots. If he's hitting early, the Bulls are in good shape.

5. A three-game winning streak on the line. The last time the Bulls won three straight -- earlier this month -- it pushed them over .500. Now they've got a chance to reel off a third straight and again get back over .500. As poorly as the Bulls have played as a whole, the Eastern Conference is wide open at the bottom half of the playoff bracket, so these are opportunities they don't want to miss against a struggling team.

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