I said that Noah had to outplay Chris Bosh for this to be a victory. Bosh had a fine game (15 pts, 5 reb on 6-10 shooting), but against Noah, he was but a flickering candle against a tidal wave. Noah was EVERYWHERE, and everything that happened in that 12 point comeback can be laid directly at his feet.
After a 21-19 quarter that was pretty much exactly what you’d assume, the Bulls saw themselves slowly but surely pushed out of the game until Noah grabbed it by the hair, kicking and screaming, pulled it back into the light, saddled it, and rode it into fiery victory of Valhalla where his ancestors welcomed him as a warrior-king and he found bliss on the eternal battleground of his forefathers.
In other news, Jimmy Butler (4-15, 16 pts, 11 reb, 4 stl) overcame another poor shooting day to play some of the best man defense he’s ever had on the best player on the planet (who still finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals on 8-23 shooting). Dwyane Wade had his way with Mike Dunleavy for most of the first three quarters before disappearing a bit at the end. He finished with 25 points on 7-16 shooting. Norris Cole (11 points) was the only other double digit scorer for the Heat, who fall to 43-17 after losing three straight.
On the Bulls front, D.J. Augustin snapped his cold streak against the champs and finished with 22 points on 8-13 shooting. Taj Gibson (7 pts, 10 reb) overcame a horrid first three quarters (and the flu, apparently) to shore up the Bulls defense in the fourth and Kirk Hinrich did his customary #NationalTVKirk thing to finish with 11 points and 4 assists on 5-11 shooting.
In the end, though, today was all about the majesty of Joakim (and Yannick) Noah.
Joakim Noah in 4th quarter + overtime: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks.
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) March 9, 2014
Player(s) of the Game: Joakim Noah. 9-16, 20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks in 42 minutes.