NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah does not expect to be suspended after getting into a skirmish with New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler during the fourth quarter of Friday night's 110-106 win.
Noah and Chandler got tangled up after going for a rebound with 4:39 left in regulation. Chandler appeared to throw several elbows in Noah’s direction. Noah appeared to retaliate by trying to headbutt Chandler. The two had to be separated and ultimately were thrown out of the game.
Noah, who had already picked up a technical foul, left the floor to a chorus of boos. On his way down the tunnel he high-fived a young Bulls fan, capping off another great performance. A game after racking up a triple-double against the Boston Celtics, Noah scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists.
"Things happen," Noah said. "Things happen, but we won the basketball game. I wish that we wouldn't have gotten ejected. Two guys just trying to go for a rebound and unfortunately guys got ejected."
When asked specifically about a possible suspension, the emotional center seemed incredulous.
"Suspension?" Noah said. "For what? What did I do?"
When asked about the apparent headbutt, Noah responded.
"He headbutted me," Noah said. "Come on guys, I'm trying to play (Saturday), man. I love this game."
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau does not believe Noah will be suspended either.
"No," he said. "They got tangled up."
Chandler knows that he and Noah just got caught up in the moment.
"I don’t think he’s a dirty player at all," Chandler said. "I think it was the incident. Frustration of the game. We got tangled up. That was that. I don’t necessarily think he’s a dirty player or nothing like that."
In total, four people were ejected from the game and nine technicals were issued. In addition to Noah and Chandler, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and star forward Carmelo Anthony were tossed.
"They were tangled up," Thibodeau said of the play. "Jo played a great game until ... you can't put it in the officials' hands and we should have all recognized that. They had enough, they weren't taking anybody talking to them. I think (Noah) was trying to make a point and he got thrown (out) so that hurt us."