Joakim Noah You Have Swayed Me (And Other Celts-Bulls Observations)
- Updated: April 13, 2010
Now, that was some good stuff. Just finished watching a solid half of entertaining Eastern Conference NBA basketball. I can say it’s been awhile since I’ve done that. Battling for a playoff spot, the Bulls-Celts tilt at United tonight felt like a postseason affair. In fact, for a second, it almost took me back to last year’s epic series between the two that featured games that left my mouth agape.
This evening’s contest clearly could never rival some of those instant classics, but it did grab my attention. It also reminded me of a few things I already believed, as well as some new revelations I never expected to admit. Here’s a few of those observations.
1. I HEART Joakim Noah: Why not just start with the most shocking. For years, I’ve hated Joakim Noah. Well, maybe not outwardly hated, but maybe doubted, was annoyed by and arbitrarily dismissed as overrated and insignificant. Wrong. Perhaps, I admittedly just never watched. For 30 minutes today, I paid attention to Noah. His stat line might not jump off the page, but try watching this kid the next time he’s on the court. Tonight, it was 46 minutes of sprinting down the floor on offense. Hustling back on defense. CRASHING the boards on both ends (to the tune of 16 rebounds). Contesting shots. Setting picks. Endlessly moving, agitating and imploring his teammates to win. Joakim Noah swayed me tonight. I am a believer.
2. Still Don’t Get Rondo: One game he looks like the best point guard in the game. The next? Like Kaiser Soze, “poof,” he’s gone. Invisible. Like Andy Dufresne, gone like a fart in the wind. Go figure.
3. Kevin Garnett is Officially Old: Oh yes, and getting more annoying by the day. Garnett can still make some shots, but he’s a shell of his former self. All that would be fine if he wasn’t so cocky, offputting and generally dislikeable in terms of his on-court dememanor. It used to be competitiveness and swagger in his younger days. It’s become less becoming and rather annoying as his career winds down.
4. Pierce and Allen Can Still Score: While like KG they are clealry aging, Pierce and Allen can still fill it up. Pierce just seems to outwill people to score and Jesus Shuttlesworth still has the prettiest jump shot I’ve ever seen.
5. Vinny Del Negro Looks Like a Coach on the Way Out: Regardless of the murmurings and media talk around Del Negro, management and issues, VDN just doesn’t have the look. He can talk to Norv Turner about it, but I just don’t see success ever coming to that guy — in Chicago or elsewhere. He lacks the confidence, and you can tell it on the TV. I’m sure you can smell it on the court.
6. Hinrich Shoots Pure: Kirk may not shoot it as pretty as Ray Allen, but that doesn’t mean he can’t knock ’em down with the same kind of efficiency. When he’s on, he’s scary good and still quick enough not to need a whole lotta room.
7. Big Baby, Big Crappy: I admittedly haven’t watched a whole lot of NBA this year. But, on first glance, it appears this kid got significantly worse over the past season. Is that possible? 17 minutes and one board for a 6’9 300-lber?
8. Doc Looks Tired: I’m still not sold on how bad or good a coach Doc Rivers is, I simply don’t know enough. My guess is it not as bad as the haters, or as good as his backers say. What I do know is that Doc looks drained on that sideline. Maybe it’s from trying to get the most of aging veterans and an oftentimes listless-looking group of youngsters. Whatever the case, dude needs a nap.
9. Nate Being Nate: It was good to see the Nate I remembered from his Knicks days hasn’t changed a bit. Still largely out-of-control and making idiotic decisions with consistency. I always like the little guy, but he hasn’t learned much.
10. D ROSE IS A MAN: I said it after watching Memphis in the tourney. I said it after the playoffs last year. I’ll say it again, as so many millions must be as well. D-Rose is no joke. Kid is a MAN. Huge balls. Sick skills. Winner’s mentality. Love watching him play.
That’s all I’ve got. Agree or agree to disagree. I’m getting amped for the playoffs. I’ve already temporarily forgotten about baseball season (wonder why). Let’s do this.