Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah insists that the team would relish the opportunity to go up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.
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His comments came after the Bulls’ 99-94 loss to the Cavs on Sunday in another feisty and heated battle between two old foes, as the Chicago center also had a confrontation with LeBron James in the second half.
While James is 12-3 against the Bulls in the playoffs since 2010, the message coming from Tom Thibodeau’s camp is that they will welcome the chance to go up against him in the post-season again and they are confident that they will be able to compete with the star-studded Cavs.
Noah famously ripped the city of Cleveland during the 2010 playoffs, but he was in a better mood on Sunday as he at least paid tribute to the basketball culture and the atmosphere in the Quicken Loans Arena.
“This is a great place to play basketball,” he said, ESPN reports.
“Other than that, there’s not much else to do. But when you get on to that court, it’s a great place to play basketball. That’s as much love as I’ll give to Cleveland.”
The Bulls will hope to have the added bonus of having guards Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich back before the playoffs start, as that was arguably the area that they struggled most in containing Kyrie Irving on the defensive end with Aaron Brooks handed the difficult task of keeping him quiet.
Given that the Cavaliers hit three buzzer-beating heaves, it took some luck and some special plays to put away the Bulls in the end, and so Noah and Co. will be confident in their ability of making a series competitive as he reiterated that they would be “very happy” to play Cleveland again according to ESPN.
With six games remaining in the regular season, both the Bulls and Cavs will now look to figure out any last minute issues and get in the stride ahead of what will be an important post-season campaign for both organisations.