The Joakim Noah vs Kevin Garnett rivalry has been catching some real steam as of late, finally boiling over Friday night in the Bulls 100-99 overtime victory over the Celtics.
Noah balled-out, ringing in a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, hitting 6-of-11 shots from the field. Noah hounded Garnett all night long, holding him to just 5-of-16 shooting.
Following the game, Noah told ESPN’s Nick Friedell how he felt about Garnett and his playing style:
“(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—.”
“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 the first time Noah has expressed these feelings. During the 2010 playoffs, he made the following statement:
“He’s a dirty player, man,” Noah said at the time. “He’s a dirty player. That’s messed up, man … I’m hurting right now because of an elbow he threw. It’s unbelievable. He’s a dirty player. It’s one thing to be competitive and compete and all that, but don’t be a dirty player. He’s a dirty player.”
Friedell went on to ask Noah if he thought Garnett crossed the line:
“Nah,” he said. “When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we’ve been beating their asses, I’m cool with it.”
The Celtics and Bulls will tangle one more time during the regular season on February 13, and if the fans are lucky enough, we will get to see these two rivals square off in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.