PHILADELPHIAFor once, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is way off the mark when it comes to his players. Yes, Joakim Noah is a competitor and after a subpar outing Tuesday night in the Bulls home loss to the Clippers, but to think that his primary motivation coming into Wednesdays game against the 76ers was anything but remembering the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center cheer when he went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Game 3 of the two teams first-round playoff series is pure folly.
I think he responded well because of what happened last night. I didnt think he played his best last night, but I thought today, he had the energy and determination to play well again, so I think that was the big factor in the way he played, Thibodeau explained.
But the big thing for him is, I want him to be consistent with his approach. I dont want him to be relying on emotion or one game youre up, one game youre down. Just approach it the same way each and every day. Get ready for your next opponent. This ones over, get ready for Brooklyn. Thats the way it has to be.
Sounds great, Thibs. Heres what Noah had to say.
Yes, no question, he answered, when asked if he had May on his mind coming into this game, a 96-89 Bulls win, in which he contributed a team-high 21 points, along with seven rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.
Ive been thinking about it all summer. All summer. I just couldnt wait to come back here. I just felt like when I went down last year, just people cheering and stuff. I just felt like that was a little disrespectful and it was definitely motivating for me to work even harder in the summer.
Im going to do it for the rest of my career, every time I come back.
So while Thibodeau would love for the charismatic centerwho was booed as he emphatically performed his finger guns routine after knocking down jumpersto be an even-keeled type, it just isnt happening. At least not in Philly.