Chicago Sun-Times

Bulls' Noah: Cleveland doesn't rock

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CLEVELAND -- Joakim Noah already was on Cleveland's public enemies list before the start of the Bulls' first-round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There was that incident back in December when Noah called out Cavaliers star LeBron James and accused him of showing up the Bulls by dancing on the sidelines during the game. Then there were Noah's comments before the series that the Bulls were going to "shock the world."

Noah was booed loudly during the introductions before Game 1 and the Quicken Loans Arena crowd booed every time Noah scored or did something noteworthy.

Well, that reception figures to be tame compared to the reaction Noah draws tonight during Game 2 because of some negative comments he made about the city of Cleveland on Sunday.

"I don't know about Cleveland, man," Noah said following Bulls' practice on Sunday. "There is nothing going on. It's bad, man."

When asked if his dislike for the town would motivate him more in the series, Noah said: "What, that Cleveland sucks?"

No doubt, Noah likely was expressing the sentiments of most of his teammates. The weather was cold and rainy and downtown Cleveland (where the Bulls are staying) was a virtual ghost town on Sunday.

But with nothing else going on, the Cleveland Plain Dealer played up Noah's brief, offhand comments in its lead story on the series in Monday's edition.

It certainly got the Cleveland media riled up. At the Bulls' shootaround Monday morning, just about every local media outlet was present, including all of the local television stations.

Noah, though, didn't speak with reporters. He left the court to do an interview with TNT - which will broadcast tonight's game - and didn't return to the court as the horde of media waited for him.

The other Bulls players say they get a kick out of the attention Noah receives as the villain on the road.

"That's Jo; he's just trying to win," Derrick Rose said. "That's the way he plays, that's the way he talks. You always know he's in the room.

"Actually, it makes us all play hard because you know every arena we go to everybody hates him. It makes us player harder and we love shutting the crowd up."

Rose then was asked what he thought of Cleveland and had a more diplomatic response:

"It's different from Chicago, I'll say that."

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This page contains a single entry by John Jackson published on April 19, 2010 11:48 AM.

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