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posted: 1/24/2014 5:35 AM

Noah clearly the face of the Bulls right now

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  • Bulls center Joakim Noah, right, dunks on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao in their game Wednesday in Cleveland. The Bulls won 98-87, and Noah collected 18 rebounds.

      Bulls center Joakim Noah, right, dunks on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao in their game Wednesday in Cleveland. The Bulls won 98-87, and Noah collected 18 rebounds.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

The Chicago Bulls are on fire and the face of the franchise right now has to be Joakim Noah, who is playing all-star basketball.

When the Bulls traded Luol Deng, fellow teammates, some Bulls fans and media were upset.

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Honestly, I didn't work up much of a lather over Deng leaving Chicago. He was just too inconsistent for me considering the kind of money he was paid.

Deng had great games, good games, average games and subpar games. Quick, can you give me Deng's five signature games?

His injuries were often untimely, like when Derrick Rose went down and Deng suddenly had issues.

Look, he was a two-time NBA all-star and I wish him well, but with Derrick Rose, the lord of limp, and Deng gone, most of us had the Bulls sinking faster than the Titanic.

But Noah had different plans. The Bulls have won eight of their last 10 and Noah has been on the floor through thick and thin. The guy took only seven shots from the field in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, yet he is playing all-star caliber basketball.

If you agree that the great ones make other players around you better, then D.J. Augustin is exhibit A. Against Cleveland, he was Rose-like, with 27 points and 7 assists, and he's getting better and better.

The Bulls are two games out from the third spot in the East, and head coach Tom Thibodeau has the guys stepping it up.

Aside from Oklahoma Thunder's Kevin Durant, I have to say no one I've seen plays harder than Noah in this league.

Ask Bulls fans who the man is on this team. It's easy -- Joakim Noah is the face of the franchise.

Cold weather Super Bowl:

If the weather is bad at Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, it will be another mark against Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL.

The foot of snow dumped on New York the other day is only part of the story; the wind is what we should be watching.

If you are a Seattle Seahawks fan, aren't you hoping for 20 miles-per-hour winds gusting through the Met Life stadium?

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would have issues with the conditions, at least a lot more than Seattle's scrambling and running style QB Russell Wilson would have.

The NFL is handing out "warm welcome" kits to the fans in attendance, and there are emergency contingency plans in place.

It all just makes me shake my head. It's all about the money, right?

Economists say there will be an infusion of cash into New York, but how much is being spent to get ready for it? You just know there will be a collective breath being held on Super Bowl morning waiting for weather reports.

The NFL has New Orleans, Miami and San Diego and cold weather sites with domes, but 30-degree (or worse) New York is the place.

It should be interesting.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports Radio, and Sunday mornings from 7-11 a.m. Check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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