CLEVELAND -- Joakim Noah got the best of Anderson Varejao on Wednesday night, but that doesn't mean he enjoyed himself in the process. The Chicago Bulls center scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but it was his defense that made even more of an impact. Varejao, who came into the game playing at an All-Star caliber level with the Cleveland Cavaliers, scored 11 points, going just 4-for-16 from the field.
While Noah was proud of his performance, he admitted that Varejao isn't his favorite player to face.
"I don't like playing against him," Noah said. "Every time the ball goes up, he's always going to the glass. He never takes a play off. He's just a hard-playing dude. Good dude, too. I really respect him on and off the court. His brother is a friend of mine. Brazilians are usually pretty cool people, but he's a hard-playing dude and I respect him."
Robinson trying to grow up
Nate Robinson scored 19 points in Tuesday's loss, but he tried to take responsibility for the game because of the crucial turnovers he made late. He didn't back off his comments before Wednesday night's game.
"Just stating the obvious and being real myself," Robinson said. "I play hard, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. Things don't go in your favor sometimes. I got to take care of the ball; that's something I'm going to do better [with] from here on out."
Thibodeau believes one of the reasons Robinson is struggling late in games is because he hasn't been in that role for a while. The veteran coach believes Robinson is a different player than when he was in Boston with Thibodeau three years ago.
"He's different," Thibodeau said. "He's got more experience now. And he wasn't playing this type of role in Boston, so this is a different role. I think he's still growing. He's had some really good games for us, some games that are sort of in the middle. But I want him to be consistent and I want him to continue to concentrate on his improvement and run our team well."
Robinson acknowledged he is enjoying the challenge of late-game situations. He believes he has matured and continues to grow as a player.
"I get better and better every year," Robinson said. "I'm definitely happy with the positions I've been in -- different teams, different situations. I love the game for how it is. I just go hard; that's the only way I know how to play. Over the years I've just been getting better and better, so I'm happy with my success."
Rip still out
Thibodeau still isn't quite sure when Richard Hamilton (torn plantar fascia in left foot) will be back.
"He's still day-to-day," Thibodeau said before the game. "Getting better each day. He's probably going to be a week or two."
The last word
"Our coach is Tom Thibodeau, so you got to stay focused."
-- Noah, on how the Bulls were able to bounce back after such an awful performance Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers.