Joakim Noah made a promise and backed it up. Following the Chicago Bulls‘ loss in Game 6 against the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA All-Star center guaranteed a Bulls win in Game 7. And win they did, sending the Nets home for the season with a score of 99-93.
Not only were the Bulls victorious, once again they were historical, accomplishing a feat never before accomplished by a Bulls team. It was a Chicago Bulls’ first ever Game-7 road win in franchise history.
With no Luol Deng, no Kirk Hinrich and no Derrick Rose in the lineup, the entire team rose to the occasion. But it was Noah who provided the initial spark and the inspiration throughout with his heart, hustle and muscle.
Noah looked agile on the court and was moving better than he had all series, doing it all on an injured plantar fascia. He played aggressively on both ends owning the offensive boards and defending the pick and roll, rallying his teammates at midcourt and during time-outs. He delivered big time on his promise – scoring 24 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking 6 shots, pretty darn impressive for a guy who, admittedly, could barely walk at the start of the series.
If there’s one thing this series taught their critics it would be to never underestimate the heart of the Chicago Bulls and never ever doubt a Joakim Noah prediction. After the game, Noah offered no predictions for the Bulls upcoming Eastern Conference matchup with the reigning champion Miami Heat team except to expect a war on Monday.
Coach Tom Thibodeau, never one to make predictions, repeated what has become his motto for the season: “We have more than enough to win.”
Hollie M. Woods is a writer for Rant Sports covering the Chicago Bulls and the NBA. “Like” her on Facebook.