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updated: 4/24/2013 9:07 PM

Thibs believes Noah will one day win 'D' award

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  • Bulls center Joakim Noah, here attempting to block a shot by Reggie Evans on Monday, came in fourth place for the NBA defensive player of the year.

    Bulls center Joakim Noah, here attempting to block a shot by Reggie Evans on Monday, came in fourth place for the NBA defensive player of the year.
    Associated Press


Joakim Noah finished fourth in voting for defensive player of the year.

Memphis center Marc Gasol won the award, followed by Miami's LeBron James and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka. Grizzlies guard Tony Allen finished fifth.

Coach Tom Thibodeau predicted Wednesday that Noah will someday take home the award.

"Jo continues to improve," Thibodeau said. "He and Luol (Deng), you could make a strong case for both of them. Jo's got great versatility. He can guard all five positions.

"I think Jo is going to win that one year. Usually what happens is you get attention one year and people recognize it and hopefully it will happen next year."

Deng and Jimmy Butler finished farther back for defensive player of the year, though Deng did get a first-place vote.

"Lu is not only a great team defender, he's a great individual defender," Thibodeau said. "You start looking at some of the other guys. You could make a case for Kirk (Hinrich) to be all-league defense. Taj (Gibson) is as good as it gets as a big who has many of the same qualities Joakim has. We have a team of leaders."

Dream come true for Noah:

Even though he lived in Manhattan growing up, Joakim Noah has ties to Brooklyn, spending his sophomore and junior years of high school at Brooklyn Poly Prep, which sits basically at the run-up to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

"Being able to play against a New York team, being from over there, it means a lot," Noah said at the Berto Center. "I come out after a game and probably see 100 people that I know. Everybody's in the building. There's a lot of times playing in the playground or playing just me by myself on the court, the way I envisioned it -- it's even better than that. So I'm really happy to be in this position right now."

Nets ready for the road:

Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo had this to say about the series moving to Chicago for Game 3:

"The next game is the most important game of the year," Carlesimo said, according to the New York Daily News. "It's not a cliché. It's not an overstatement.

"We're not uncomfortable playing on the road. They're a good home team. But they're not 36-5 or anything. I like playing them at Barclays Center more than I like playing them at the United Center. But I do feel comfortable playing on the road."

The Bulls went 24-17 at home this season, while the Nets were 23-18 on the road.

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