Joakim Noah , who scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, got into several times in the second half with Garnett under the Bulls’ basket.
Afterward, he claimed Garnett continued his strategy of throwing “elbows” and “cheap shots” at the Bulls big man. Noah and Garnett were called for double technicals with 2:20 left in a game that the Bulls led, 84-83. Garnett did not address it after the game but Noah did.
‘Just trying to throw elbows,” Noah said. “Cheap shots, just trying to get you off your game. But he’s a vet, he’s been doing this a long time, but it’s all right.’
Noah was asked how he held Garnett to just 5-of-16 shooting from the field.
“Just playing defense,” Noah said. “Just playing sound defense, just contesting his shots. He’s a hell of a competitor. He’s always on some bulls***. Always on some bulls***.”
One of the first times Noah accused Garnett of throwing elbows was back in the 2010 Eastern Conference playoffs.
“He’s a dirty player, man,” Noah said. “He’s a dirty player. That’s messed up, man. I’m hurting right now because of an elbow he threw. It’s unbelievable. He’s a dirty player. It’s one thing to be competitive and compete and all that, but don’t be a dirty player. He’s a dirty player.”
Does he regret those comments?
“I feel like I was young, maybe talking a little bit too much,” Noah said Friday night when reminded of 2010. “What happens on the court should stay on the court. I was pretty vocal about it, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is winning or losing basketball games. You don’t have to like your opponents, it’s all right. At the end of the day, the only thing I’m worried about is this team and I think that he’s the same way with Boston. He’s worried about his team and getting them going.
“I’m just happy that we beat them twice, they beat us once. It was a great game tonight. We fought hard, and the Bulls are on the way up. We’re not even playing with our MVP. I know he’s hungry to get back; it’s all positive.
“He wants to win and I want to win,” Noah said, before adding an ominous postscript. “I don’t think it will ever be cool [between us].”