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Joakim Noah: ‘There’s no way in hell we’re going to try and lose games to match up against anybody’

Apr 3, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT

Joakim Noah, Nene, Carlos Boozer

As you’ve surely heard, the Heat (52-22) and Pacers (53-23) are competing for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Below them, it seems the next four teams have paired off in their seeding battles.

  • No. 3 and No. 4: Bulls (43-32) and Raptors (43-32)
  • No. 5 and No. 6: Nets (40-34) and Wizards (39-36)

So, barring any of these teams rising and falling a level, Chicago will play Brooklyn or Washington in the first round.

The Bulls have won two of three over the Nets, the same team they beat in the playoffs last season. On the other hand, Chicago is 0-2 against the Wizards this season (with a third matchup coming Saturday).

If Brooklyn moves to fifth and the Bulls are third, would Chicago intentionally lose to drop to fourth and secure a better matchup?

Joakim Noah, via Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com:

“We’re just trying to play good basketball,” Noah said. “There’s no way in hell we’re going to try and lose games to match up against anybody. I think whatever happens, happens, so we’re just going to keep playing our game, keep winning as much as we can, and then (we) can’t wait for the playoffs.”

Every team says this, but with the Bulls, I actually believe it.

Remember when the Bulls lost Derrick Rose for the season? Remember when they traded Luol Deng for zero help this season? Remember when they were 9-16?

Chicago dug itself out of that deep hole because the team – led by Tom Thibodeau and backed by Noah – has one of the strongest identities in the league. The Bulls don’t quit. They play hard, and they play to win every game – maybe even to a fault.

I don’t think they can just turn that on and off, and if that means trying to beat the Washington rather than Brooklyn in the playoffs, that’s what they’ll do.

  1. beach305 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I hope the Heat play the Bulls in the playoffs. It’s become somewhat of an annual cruel joke.

  2. capspats - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    According to this article, the bulls would rather play a team they are 0-2 against than a team they’re 2-1 against. That doesn’t make any sense…

    • dacapt704 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      By this comment I would assume you’ve never competed in an athletic competition

      • capspats - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Lol guys don’t have to make such smart comments, look at the other posts. They had a huge error and it said if the WIZARDS slid up to fifth. If you don’t believe they had an error you must be new to this site. They constantly make errors on players statistics and many other things, sometimes they even use improper grammar in the title lol

    • moosedoggie - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      go back and re-read the article.

      Its a hypothetical scenario if the bulls are the #3 seed and the Nets being the #5 seed… would Chicago tank the last game to slide to the #4 seed to play Brooklyn you doofus.

    • LilTmac2003 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      Umm…actually…wow…you are absolutely incorrect.

      In this article, the Bulls would rather win games than lose games.

      Yikes, don’t know how you missed the point. It was made rather clear and it’s quite embarrassing that you thought of anything else.

      I guess you could get an E for effort though, maybe?!

  3. jcmeyer10 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Noah seems like a guy who wouldn’t lose to his kid in a game of basketball on a Little Tykes hoop so this is no surprise.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      As a parent and a psychology major (child psychology), you never want to let your kids win. Winning and losing are part of learning – and all too often, kids these days do not know how to handle losing because they were gifted wins early in their lives.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Man I remember the first time I beat my dad in 1 on 1, was he pissed or what! He had us play another game right after and beat me bad! lol

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        That’s awesome! My little guy just turned 7 and I enjoy whooping up on him in Mario Kart. But I can almost promise he’ll be taller than me so I’ll have my work cut out for me soon enough. I still remember the day I beat my dad in a wrestling match: I was 18, it was Christmas Eve and my mother was not a happy camper (she hated when her “boys” fought…) but my dad was surprisingly happy. He gave me a hug and said “I’m going to bed”. Good times!

    • xfactor123 - Apr 5, 2014 at 6:52 AM

      I’m surprised at the sports “fans” that don’t know what Vince Lombardi’s most famous quote was.

  4. pharohislife - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    If the Nets get the Bulls at the 4 and 5 seed matchup in the 1st Round, they(The Nets) might be in trouble, but if the Nets get the Raptors instead at the 4 and 5 seed matchup, they will have a favorable path to the Eastern Conference Finals.

  5. kb2408 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    I love J. Noah…this dude is a WINNER!

  6. nate21prince - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    Wrong Dan Feldman.

    CORRECTION:
    “The Bulls have won two of three over the Nets, the same team they beat in the playoffs last season. On the other hand, Chicago is 0-2 against the Wizards this season (with a third matchup coming Saturday).

    If Washington moves to fifth and the Bulls are third, would Chicago intentionally lose to drop to fourth and secure a better matchup?”

    No, because all else equal, given the current playoff positioning of the 4 teams mentioned, the Bulls are facing the Wizards, a less favorable matchup than a matchup against the Nets. So, if the Wizards increased their seeding from 6 to 5, they would be slotted to play the currently-positioned 4 seed, the Raptors. To answer your question, based upon the logic you initially presented, if Washington did move up to fifth and the Bulls are third, they would be incentivized to continue winning to maintain their 3 seeding and play the 6-seeded Nets, whom they have performed better against as opposed to the Wizards.

    #c’monman

    • kingtotz - Apr 6, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      And it’s not the same Nets team that Bulls defeated last year. Just saying…

  7. capspats - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    They fixed it. But earlier it said if the WIZARDS slid up to fifth, would Chicago try to lose. This site has lots of grammatical errors so this sort of mistake isn’t uncommon

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