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.

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

In a season where the triple-double has become commonplace to the point of stat chasing in the effort to chase history, Dwyane Wade didn't mind snatching his own piece of turf.

In a game where teammate Jimmy Butler reached the feat for the first time this season, it would've been doubly satisfactory for Wade to achieve the fifth triple-double of his career.

One rebound away in the final seconds of the Bulls' 117-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the memo didn't reach Cristiano Felicio, who reached over Wade to grab a rebound, causing it to harmlessly fall out of bounds and ending Wade's chance at history.

After Wade finished with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 34 minutes, he was asked if he "hated" Felicio for interrupting his moment.

"No hate. Just a strong dislike, though," said Wade with a wry smile. "You know how long it's been since I had a triple double? It's been a long time."

It's been six years, as his last triple-double came in the 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat, achieving the feat with a 22-point, 12-rebound and 10-assist performance against the then-Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 4, 2011.

Even more than the statistical feat was Wade's variety, as he grabbed seven rebounds in the decisive third-quarter run that broke the game open, hitting Butler and Bobby Portis for long touchdown passes that would've had Jay Cutler or whichever quarterback the Cleveland Browns are banking on next fall, blushing.

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact it was on the second night of a back-to-back with the Bulls winning in overtime against the Phoenix Suns—a game where Wade turned it up late then threw it down over Alex Len in overtime.

"I think we just found our groove," Wade said. "We've had some injuries that have gone on but we're playing good basketball."

More pointedly, so is Wade, aided by him often finding Felicio for easy dunks on the pick and roll as they play second and fourth quarters together. 

Felicio was clearly bothered by his gaffe, which was made worse by the take-no-prisoners approach from Wade and Butler. When a member of foreign media approached him about an interview, Felicio said "you're not asking me about that last rebound, are you?"

Later in the evening, Felicio went to Twitter, posting "I did not know!!" in reference to Wade's night.

"I told him I didn't not even gonna act like I ain't mad at him. I'm very mad at him," said Wade with a laugh. "But he's all good. He said he didn't see me down there. So he took a shot at my height. It's cool. Jimmy had one. It would've been nice to have two triple doubles."

"I'm sure a stat would've came out that would've said, ‘Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are the first duo to get a triple-double on a back-to-back since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen', since they got every record around here."

He was close, although Jordan and Pippen didn't achieve their feat on a back-to-back but a random night in the 1988-89 season. Jordan scored 41 with 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Pippen had 15 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 126-121 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We laugh about that often, but it's all good," Wade said. "I gotta work harder till I get another one one day."

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