It's been a long time since anybody questioned the toughness of Joakim Noah, but the do-it-all center still likes to offer the occasional reminder that he and his Chicago Bulls are as hard-nosed as ever.
With a playoff spot secured, many teams in Chicago's position might look to massage their record down the stretch. In some situations, a strategic loss here or there could lead to a more favorable playoff matchup.
Noah cut off any thoughts of the Bulls dropping games at the pass, per Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago:
Noah on playoff seeding: "There's no way in hell we're going to try to lose games to matchup against anybody."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) April 3, 2014
Noah: "I think losing games to try to play somebody, I think that's soft. That's soft. We're not soft."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) April 3, 2014
Considering the Bulls' well-earned blue-collar reputation, it's hardly surprising their de facto leader would sound off so strongly against the concept of deliberate losing.
Chicago has fought through a second disastrous injury to Derrick Rose, the trade of Luol Deng that was supposed to bring about a tanked second half and the typical bevy of bumps and bruises that come with playing heavy minutes for head coach Tom Thibodeau.
In other words, the Bulls only do things the hard way.
To them, entertaining the thought, even for a moment, of giving away contests so things could potentially be a little easier in the playoffs is absurd.
Besides, if Noah knows how to do anything, it's finishing strong:
The day these Bulls lose on purpose is the day they stop being who they are. And besides, dumping a few games in the season's final two weeks wouldn't change their playoff fate in the slightest.
Currently slotted in the No. 4 position and due to face the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago could only hope to slip to the fifth seed...where it'd still be matched up against the Nets.
Call it a logical leap, but I'm not sure surrendering home-court advantage in the first round (for no reason at all) is a great idea.
Not that Noah would ever consider it anyway.