Chicago Bulls' Noah celebrates basket against Boston Celtics' Terry during NBA basketball game in Chicago

Joakim Noah says Kevin Garnett uses ‘cheap shots’ to throw guys off their game


The Bulls beat the Celtics in overtime on Friday, on the strength of a couple of big plays that went their way down the stretch of both regulation and the extra session.

Joakim Noah continued his All-Star caliber play, especially defensively where he was able to hold Kevin Garnett to just 5-16 shooting. He was asked afterward how he did it, and used the opportunity to let loose on Garnett’s style of play once again.

From Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago:

“(I was) just playing defense,” Noah said. “Just playing sound defense, just contesting his shots, he’s a helluva competitor, he’s always on some bulls—. Always on some bulls—.”

Noah was asked for clarification of what Garnett was doing that upset him.

“Just trying to throw elbows,” Noah said of Garnett. “Cheap shots, just trying to get you off your game. But he’s a vet, he’s been doing this a long time but it’s all right.”

This isn’t a new opinion from Noah. He called Garnett a dirty player during the 2010 Eastern Conference playoffs, but unlike Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, who let Garnett get to him a couple of weeks ago, Noah ignored the nonsense and simply played his game.

The Bulls and Celtics both play hard-nosed defensive basketball, so it isn’t a surprise that Noah and Garnett had multiple run-ins throughout the course of the night. Let’s just hope we see these two teams go head to head in the postseason for a seven-game series.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?