CLEVELAND – Very few can leave a lasting impression in a loss like Joakim Noah.
That’s why Monday in Cleveland was clean-up day, as Cavaliers fans used the local sports talk airwaves to take shots at the Bulls big man for his play on Sunday, as well as his words.
Not that being public enemy No. 1 in Cleveland is anything new for Noah. It was back in April 2010 that Noah began his assault on the city, declaring “You like it? You think Cleveland is cool? I mean I’ve never heard anybody say I’m going to Cleveland on vacation. What’s so good about Cleveland?’’
Sunday was just another opportunity for Noah to double-down, following the 99-94 loss to the Cavs.
“It would be great to play them in the playoffs,’’ Noah said after the five-point loss. “It would be very, very exciting. It’s something I really hope happens.
“This is a great place to play basketball. Other than that, there’s not much else to do. But when you get on that court, it’s a great place to play. That’s as much love as I’ll give to Cleveland.’’
He gave even less to four-time MVP LeBron James, as the two exchanged contact on the court and some trash-talking when play was stopped several times.
Cameras caught Noah calling James a slang term, and afterward Cavs coach David Blatt didn’t appreciate the physical play on his star.
“I thought some of the things that happened were a little overboard. I really do,’’ Blatt said. “But the league will take a look at it and they’ll decide what’s right.’’
James was a bit more diplomatic, simply telling reporters “It’s April.’’
As it stood Monday afternoon, the Cavs would see the Bulls in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs if both were able to advance.