Noah concedes that it’s time to put performance together in playoffs.
There were nine games on the NBA schedule on Sunday night, with the Chicago Bulls toppling the Miami Heat while Jodie Meeks stunned the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Joakim Noah had 20 points and 12 rebounds to go with seven assists and five blocks in a performance full of heart and determination, while D.J. Augustin provided the spark off the bench to end the game with 22 points.
However, it was an all-round team performance from the Bulls who improve to 35-28, and despite all the positives which included a battling defensive effort from Jimmy Butler on LeBron James, Chicago know that they must find a way in the playoffs to build on their regular season performances against their rivals.
“I want what they have — a championship,” Noah said. “One day, we’re going to have to get through those guys.”
Dwyane Wade scored 25 for Miami as James struggled on 8-of-23 shooting for 17 points with Miami slipping to their third straight defeat in front of a raucous United Center with Yannick Noah in attendance to watch his son put on a great display.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers saw their losing streak extended to four games with their latest loss coming against the Dallas Mavericks.
Paul George had 27 points and 11 rebounds for the visitors, but it wasn’t enough as the Mavs picked up a big win to go with their victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last week.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel insisted that his players must “stay the course” as their tough schedule continues this week, but it has been a disappointing run as they have now slipped to 46-17 for the season which gives the idle San Antonio Spurs the best record in the NBA.
The Spurs also moved up to top spot in the West after the Thunder’s shock defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers, with Kevin Durant’s triple double not enough for the visitors at the Staples Center.
Durant had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists on the night, but with Jodie Meeks scoring a career-high 42 points, the Lakers had enough to give something to their fans to cheer about.
Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds, but it was Meeks who was the player of the night as he insists that the Lakers will play hard over the last 19 games with pride still at stake even if their playoffs hopes are over.
Staying in the West, the Houston Rockets rallied to an overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers behind 41 points from James Harden, while Jeremy Lin added 26.
The Rockets are now 44-19 for the season as they continue to battle it out with the Los Angeles Clippers for the third spot in the West, while they are also looking above with the gap closing on the Thunder.
The Golden State Warriors were also winners on Sunday night with a victory over the Phoenix Suns at the ORACLE Arena, as David Lee had 26 points and nine rebounds to hold off Goran Dragic and Co.
Miami Heat 88-95 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 110-114 Los Angeles Lakers
Denver Nuggets 107-111 New Orleans Pelicans
Detroit Pistons 111-118 Boston Celtics
Sacramento Kings 89-104 Brooklyn Nets
Portland Trail Blazers 113-118 Houston Rockets
Toronto Raptors 111-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
Indiana Pacers 94-105 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns 107-113 Golden State Warriors