“I think human nature would be to exhale a little bit [after beating the Miami Heat],” Noah acknowledged. “The Spurs are playing great basketball and they’re coming whether we like it or not, whether we exhaled or not. We’ve got to fight human nature and be ready for a big game against a team that’s going to come in hungry because we beat them pretty good at their place.”
Noah, Thibodeau and the Bulls have won a league-best 22 games since Jan. 1. During that span, Chicago owns the second best record in the Eastern Conference with a mark of 22-9. Brooklyn has gone a conference-best 20-8.
Though the Bulls are beginning a stretch of six in a row at home, facing teams like Miami, San Antonio and Houston – Chicago’s next three opponents after Memphis – will be no easy task.
“When we play the Miami Heat our intensity has to be high the whole time,” said Joakim Noah, who, nevertheless, had a big game with 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. “To me, that is what is disappointing. Those guys ended our seasons a lot. You got to hate playing these guys. Every time we play them, our intensity has to be high. We did it in spurts. It wasn’t good the whole time and that is what is disappointing.”
“D.J. has been playing great basketball,” said Noah. “We wouldn’t be in the position that we are right now if it weren’t for him. He’s playing with confidence and it was big to see him play at that level. It was a pretty big stage and D.J. stepped up huge for us.”
The Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose recently had a chance to "Make-A-Wish" come true for a young Bulls fan dealing with cancer. The visit is chronicled in a new TV spot produced by BullsTV and sponsored by Magellan.
“I think we’re playing good basketball right now,” said Noah. “We’re focused on the task at hand. Tonight is Denver. They had a good win [Thursday in Milwaukee].
“Faried is the energy guy, he gets them going,” Noah added of the Nuggets. “Hickson is playing good basketball. They’re a very good pocket pass team and they can score in bunches. If we play our basketball and come with the right edge, we’ll be alright.”