Moments after the Bulls finished off Indiana on Tuesday night, Pacers forward Danny Granger wanted to start things with Joakim Noah.
Granger headed toward the Bulls bench to give Noah a piece of his mind, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau intervened and told Granger to cool off.
That forced Granger to call out Noah via the media after the Bulls’ 116-89 Game 5 victory.
“Joakim Noah, he’s a dirty player,” Granger said. “Honestly. He elbowed two of my power forwards. One got kicked out. The other got a tech and nothing’s called on him.
“I don’t think there’s a place in the game for it. You can make hard fouls and everything, but when you start elbowing people in the face, that’s when fights start breaking out.”
In other words, every bad thing the Pacers did during the game’s final 13 minutes belonged on Noah’s doorstep.
The first incident occurred with 2.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
As Derrick Rose hoisted up a 3-pointer, Indiana backup center Josh McRoberts and Noah tangled underneath.
While another Pacer grabbed the rebound on the other side of the lane, McRoberts charged at Noah and put both forearms into his chest.
Unsatisfied with that contact, McRoberts ran at the backpedaling Noah again and threw another forearm into him.
That earned McRoberts an ejection with 2.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
“He came down and swung an elbow and hit me right in the throat,” McRoberts said. “I was just trying to shove back to defend myself. I didn’t know you could get thrown out for a push, which is what I thought I did.”
Then, with 4:56 left in the game, Noah and Tyler Hansbrough got locked up while jostling for position on a Kyle Korver 3-pointer.
While they picked up a double foul before they could raise their arms and extricate themselves, Indiana guard A.J. Price earned a technical for complaining about Noah’s conduct.
Granger said afterward that, similar to the McRoberts incident, Noah clocked Hansbrough first and didn’t get caught.
Noah wasn’t going for it.
“I play dirty?” Noah said. “OK. I’m just trying to win basketball games, man. It’s the name of the game.
“You guys all know what happened. I’m just out there just trying to do what I gotta do. Like I said, I give a lot of credit to their team. They played hard as (heck). They were very competitive. I got nothing bad to say about none of those guys.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.