On Friday night, after the Bulls beat the Celtics 100-99 in overtime, Joakim Noah said he didn’t want to talk too much, and especially not about Kevin Garnett, with whom Noah tangled again on Friday night and about whom Noah has had some pointed words in the past.
So on Friday, Noah did not go as far as to say that Garnett was a dirty player, as he has alleged before. Instead, he credited Garnett’s play, but he also made sure to describe what he thinks that play includes.
“Just playing defense,” Noah said of how he held Garnett to 5-of-16 shooting, setting up an implicit contrast to how Garnett plays. “Just playing sound defense, just contesting his shots.
“He’s a helluva competitor. He’s always on some bull—-. Always on some bull—-. … 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 said that what’s important to him now is what happens on the court — and he emphasized several times that he was fine with what happened, since the Bulls won.
“I feel like I was young, maybe talking a little bit too much,” he said of calling Garnett a dirty player before. “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.”
The Celtics will host the Bulls on Feb. 13 for what is sure to be a love-filled pre-Valentine’s Day affair.