Despite all the injuries, inconsistent lineups and poor play, the Bulls picked up a small victory Thursday in Oklahoma City.
If you get under an opponent's skin by merely showing up -- despite a 9-16 record -- you must be doing something right.
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The story of Joakim Noah getting verbally harassed during a visit to the Thunder locker room got plenty of attention. Noah was visiting with former Bulls teammate Thabo Sefolosha when Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins complained loudly about Noah's presence.
There were still reporters in the locker room when the exchange occurred. According to The Oklahoman, Perkins yelled out, "They just let anybody in the locker room?"
Eventually, Noah offered to leave and Perkins reportedly grumbled a few profanities before ending with, "Get you (butt) up outta here."
The pair later exchanged words in the hallway while Noah was headed for the team bus, but that's as far as it went.
Players visiting an opposing locker room after games is a fairly common occurrence in the NBA. Usually, it's done by former teammates. Ben Wallace and Jannero Pargo would stop by the Bulls locker room when in town and Ron Artest (sorry, Metta World Peace) was in there after this year's home opener at the United Center.
It shouldn't have been a big deal for Noah to be in the home locker room as a guest of Sefolosha. The two French speakers were tight during their brief time as Bulls teammates.
Perkins mouthing off at Noah brings back memories of when they were actual bitter rivals in the epic Bulls-Boston first-round playoff series in 2009. Perkins rose to the occasion during that series, averaging 13.3 points and 11.6 rebounds in the seven games.
These days, Perkins is an albatross on the Thunder roster. He's owed a total of $17.5 million this year and next, but is currently averaging 3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.
Perkins managed no points and 4 rebounds against the Bulls, while Noah had 23 points and 12 rebounds. Chances are, that fact made Perkins grumpier than any violation of locker room etiquette.
Barkley speaks harsh truth:
During Thursday's TNT broadcast, Charles Barkley offered a candid assessment of the Bulls.
"It's hard to play when the season's over already," he said. "The Bulls are not going to win. (Luol) Deng is a free agent, (Carlos) Boozer is a good player but he's getting older and we don't know how Derrick Rose is going to come back. They play hard, but the game is about talent. When you lose an MVP like Derrick Rose it's very difficult to go out there every night and (feel like) you have a chance to win."
There's plenty of truth to Barkley's statement, which is why so many Bulls fans favor a lottery fall over a playoff run this season.
Before sparring with Kendrick Perkins, Joakim Noah provided a pep talk in the visiting locker room. The loss to the Thunder dropped the Bulls' record to 3-13 since Nov. 21, the day before Derrick Rose was injured.
"Chicago is a city that deals with a lot of adversity," Noah told reporters. "I think we're dealing with a lot of adversity. We just have to go out there and fight. There's no other way. The games are going to keep coming. I think guys are going to come back and our time's going to come and I think it's going to be a heck of a year."
Saturday's contest against Cleveland completes a stretch of eight games in 12 days for the banged-up Bulls. Luol Deng (sore Achilles), Kirk Hinrich (sore back) and Jimmy Butler (sprained ankle) all appear to be doubtful for the Cavs.