No kidding: Bulls primed for Heat

NEW ORLEANS -- When the topic of playing the Miami Heat Thursday night came up, Joakim Noah tried his best Tom Thibodeau impression.

"Like Thibs would say, 'It's the next game on the schedule," Noah said in his best baritone.

But Noah knows that playing the Heat is different, and he's looking forward to the challenge.

"But no," he continued. "You just know the building's going to be crazy, the (United Center) is going to be nuts, and that's what you play for. You want to play against the best. You know they're No. 1 right now, and we're on the rise and we're hungry. Let's get it."

Thibodeau knows it takes a lot to try to slow down the Heat like the Bulls did in a 96-89 victory on Jan. 4.

"It's your entire team," Thibodeau said. "They have so many weapons, they're playing at a very high level. You can't over-commit in one area because they can burn you in so many other areas. It has to be a multiple effort game, you have to get back, get set, protect the paint, challenge shots, rebound. And the thing that often gets overlooked with them is how good they are defensively. So to beat them you have to play a great game."

Carlos Boozer, who resides in Miami in the offseason and spent his All-Star break vacationing there with teammate Nate Robinson and former teammate Deron Williams, played perhaps his best game as a Bull on Jan. 4 with 27 points and 12 rebounds in their win over the Heat in January.

"They're a good team. We're a good team," he said. "It's going to be fun."