Joakim Noah was either amused by all the questions he was pelted with on Thursday afternoon, or simply sitting back and enjoying all the chaos he created from the night before.
Either way, the smirk on the face of the Bulls big man said a lot, even if he didn’t.
First, there was a report that Noah – a die-hard Florida Gator alum – took note that Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones and several of his Buckeye teammates were introduced during Game 2 of the eventual loss to the Cavaliers, and during a timeout Noah supposedly was spotted mouthing to Jones, “You ain’t in the SEC.’’
Jones took to Twitter later in the night and sent this to Noah’s Twitter account: “@JoakimNoah watch yo mouth before I give you these hands chump’’
Noah’s response to that report?
“I heard about it [Thursday] morning,’’ Noah said. “I didn’t know who [Jones] was until this morning. I wish him nothing but the best. I like [Ohio State coach] Urban Meyer, I guess?’’
Noah was then asked again if he made any comment about Jones and the Southeastern Conference, and reiterated, “I didn’t even know who he was until [Thursday] morning. I wish him nothing but the best.’’
Then there was a video of Noah walking off the court after the game, and apparently getting spit on by a fan, before reaching out and making contact with the alleged spitter.
According to a Bulls spokesman, Noah did tell Cleveland security about the incident, but they didn’t offer up much of a response.
Noah’s explanation to the media?
“I don’t want to talk about that,’’ Noah said. “It’s unnecessary.’’
Asked about the video showing that he made contact with a fan, Noah responded, “I was just saying hello.’’
As far as Noah was concerned, he has much bigger problems than OSU quarterback drama and “Spit-Gate.’’
With eight playoff games under his belt so far this postseason, to say it hasn’t gone the way Noah envisioned would be an understatement.
The big man’s offense has been downright stagnant, averaging just 6.5 points, while shooting 44 percent from the field and a head-shaking 1-for-14 from the free throw line. Noah is a career 49 percent shooter from the field and a 71 percent shooter from the free throw line.
Obviously his surgically-repaired left knee has been an issue all season, but Noah continued to be tight-lipped about his struggles.
“It’s disappointing,’’ Noah said of the free throw problems. “I’ve just gotta keep working and make them [in Game 3].’’
Noah was asked if his problems were mental and responded, “No.’’ He also reiterated that his confidence remained high regarding his entire offensive game. It must be considering he’s scored just four total points in the semifinal series so far.
But for those that feel Noah should be benched for Taj Gibson, or at least have his 33 minutes per game in the playoffs limited, well, Tom Thibodeau again put those thoughts to rest.
“No, not right now,’’ Thibodeau said, following the Thursday practice. “I mean also look at when Jo was on the floor we were a plus, so you gotta look at a lot of things. We’ll see how it unfolds, but Jo brings a lot to our team.’’
That confidence in Noah that Thibodeau has also comes with the coach believing the free throws will improve.
“It will come around,’’ Thibodeau said.
When informed that his starting spot and playing time were safe, Noah had just two words.
“Thanks, Thibs,’’ Noah said.
And he of course said it with a smirk.