After 'great experience' in Houston, Noah ready to work

After 'great experience' in Houston, Noah ready to work
February 18, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Mark Strotman

Joakim Noah said he hasn't slept in four days and is looking for a good night's rest tonight, but when he wakes up it will be back to business for the Bulls' All-Star center.

Noah called his first All-Star Game last weekend in Houston a "great experience," noting that spending time with some of the world's best players, along with friends and family, came at a much-needed time for him in the midst of a career year.

"That was great to spend some time with my friends. People came from all around the world to show me support and love and I had a good crew out there. We definitely had a blast," Noah said Monday at the Berto Center. "It was a great time, being able to spend time with some of the best players. It was a great experience and now it's about getting ready for the second half of the season."

Noah played 17 minutes off the bench in Sunday's exhibition, scoring eight points and grabbing 10 rebounds as his Eastern Conference team fell to the Western Conference, 143-138. Teammate Luol Deng also played 17 minutes and finished with 10 points and two rebounds in the loss. Noah even joked that it was "a first" that Deng was late for everything and he was on time over the weekend.

Tom Thibodeau didn't seem surprised that Noah, notoriously known as the hardest-working player any time he steps on the court, gave full effort all 17 minutes.

"It's an all star game so I don't know how hard -- in the fourth quarter everyone tries. It's an all star game. They're out there to have fun, it's for the fans," he said. "I think the idea is for everyone to play it safe and at the end they try to win. Overall I thought it was good for those guys."

Kirk Hinrich, who will return to the Bulls lineup tomorrow night after missing seven games with an elbow injury, admitted he watched more of the All-Star Game than he had in years' past to watch his teammates. He also said Noah's and Deng's All-Star bids were special for his teammates and him.

"As a teammate I take a lot of pride in having All-Stars on this team," Hinrich, who was teammates with 2012 All-Star Joe Johnson last year, said. "I feel like they did a great job representing our team and playing the right way, playing hard and I'm sure they really enjoyed it."

While Noah enjoyed the experience last weekend, he's focused on getting the Bulls, losers of five of seven, back on track when the team returns to the court tomorrow night.

"It didn't make me hungry for more All-Star games," Noah said. "I'm hungry for the second half. I'm hungry for the playoffs."