CHICAGO -- After such a hard fought, emotional win against the Los Angeles Lakers, it would be easy for the Bulls to overlook the Minnesota Timberwolves, who they’ll play Saturday night at the United Center. But Joakim Noah plans to stop that from happening.
In the midst of the excitement in the postgame locker room, Noah reminded everyone about what they might be forgetting.
"That's what good teams do," he said. "You got to stay focused and understand that Minnesota's going to come with a lot of energy and it's very important that we don't have a letdown."
Carlos Boozer reiterated Noah's message, which undoubtedly was first launched after the game by first-year Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
"A great win," he said of beating the Lakers. “It gives us a sense of how we can be on the defensive side of the ball. Now we have to get ready for the next challenge which is Minnesota. We don't want to have a monster win like this and then have a letdown tomorrow."
Slowing down Kobe: One of the biggest reasons the Bulls were able to pull off a win Friday night was that they kept Kobe Bryant from exploding. Thibodeau said the key to staying in front of Bryant was giving him different looks defensively. The Bulls did that and he struggled at times, going 9-for-23 from the field for 23 points.
"The thing about Kobe is that you are never really going to stop him," Thibodeau said. "You have to try to make him work as hard as possible. [Pau] Gasol got going early and that was a big concern. It gave them a big advantage to start the game. But when Kobe is out there, he can score so quickly on you. You never feel the lead is safe. You have to play him tough."
The last word: Noah, on Rose telling reporters before Friday night’s game that he wasn't a star.
"When he plays on the court, you really think he believes that? Exactly. He might tell you guys that, but when he's dribbling the ball up the court, he knows what he's doing."