Joakim Noah hasn’t traveled with the team since suffering a shoulder injury Jan. 15, but that didn’t make Saturday’s win in Cleveland any less satisfying for the big man.
Noah has seemingly made it his mission to get under the skin of Cleveland fans since he entered the league, and he was back to his old ways Tuesday as he spoke to reporters at Bulls practice.
“I liked the win in Cleveland,” he said, via ESPN. “I liked that one a lot … It’s just good to see their crowd that upset, just walk out there with a win. Yeah, Cleveland was pissed off that night. Made me sleep better.”
With Noah back in Chicago, the Bulls beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers 96-83. It was the first game for newly named Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue.
Noah’s history of needling Cleveland dates back to at least 2010, when he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that “Cleveland really sucks.”
This past season, Noah told CSN Chicago “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m very excited to go to Cleveland,” after the Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
When asked in a recent interview about why he faces such vitriol from Cleveland fans, Noah said “I deserve it.”
Noah is expected to miss the remainder of the season after re-injuring his shoulder during Chicago’s loss to Dallas. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The Bulls and Cavaliers will meet again in Cleveland on Feb. 18, then once more in Chicago on April 9.