The Chicago Bulls were able to cool the Heat on Sunday afternoon in a 95-88 overtime win over the defending champions at the United Center. Joakim Noah was the star of the day for the current Eastern Conference fourth-seeded Bulls with a day that included 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks from the all-star center.
In a game that was televised nationally by ABC, Joakim Noah’s father and former professional tennis player, Yannick Noah was shown cheering his son on by the network during all of his son’s big plays, which was often throughout the game. Joakim told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
“I can’t wait to celebrate this win with him,” Joakim said. “I don’t get to see him a lot. My father has always been there for me my whole life. To be able to share these moments with him, I’ll cherish this forever. I know he’s a nervous wreck during games. I always tell him to drink a brewski and just chill.”
Noah’s spectacular day for the Bulls was accompanied by a defensive showing from teammate Jimmy Butler that held the reigning back-to-back MVP LeBron James to just 8 of 23 from the field and 17 points. A clutch defensive play on James at the end of regulation also resulted in James losing the ball on the way to the basket.
“I had it,” James told the Miami Herald. “And it was a great play, and a give a lot of credit to Jimmy — he got his hand on the ball — but I had the lane and I had the layup.
“I don’t know. I messed up on my scouting report. I knew if I brought the ball back to my left side, then he would strip it, too, and I went in and brought it over a little too far and he was able to get a hand on it.”
The Bulls never looked back in overtime, going on a 9-0 run to start and only allowing two points from the Heat for the entire period on a day when they converted 18 Heat turnovers into 19 points. The Bulls also controlled the boards with 27 second-chance points.
James also took notice of Noah’s play on the day, stating in his postgame interview:
“He’s one of the best guys we have in our league, especially with his motor,” he said. “He’s constantly, constantly moving. He’s a great player.”
The Chicago Bulls have won seven of their last 10 games and are 0ne game behind the third-seeded Toronto Raptors in the east, while the Heat sit in second after dropping the last three games of a roadtrip.