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- Few players have reacted publicly with the kind of enthusiasm Bulls center Joakim Noah did when he received word Thursday that he had been selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team this season. Noah sent out dozens of messages on Twitter, thanking nearly everyone who ever had an influence on his life, in baseketball and out. But when it came time to work at shootaround Friday morning, Noah was ready to go. “I don’t want Jo to change the way he approaches it,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a great honor. He earned it, but that is down the road. He was great at shootaround today and that is where I want him to be, locked in on what is in front of him right now.” Noah is only the second Bulls center selected for the All-Star game, following Artis Gilmore, who was selected four times as a Bull (1978,’79, ’81, ’82).
- Although both teams in the game at the United Center will be represented in the All-Star game, both teams feel they had a player slighted in the selction process. The Golden State Warriors feel guard Steph Curry should have been selected along with forward David Lee, who was the first Warrior selected to the All-Star Game since Latrell Sprewell in 1997. Curry is averaging 20.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds, one of only three players in the league averaging more than 20 points, six assists and four rebounds (Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are the others). “This is a great day for (Lee), for the team and for the organization, but we deserved two guys in there,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “We are disappointed (Curry) didn’t make it. We are not going to get caught up in it. We are going to talk about it, we are not going to ignore it, but we are going to keep doing what we are doing.” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau felt the same way about Curry. “He has had an All-Star type season,’’ Thibodeau said. “I’m sure down the road he will be recognized.”
- Thibodeau preached that Bulls forward Carlos Boozer deserved to go to the All-Star Game with teammates Noah and Luol Deng, who received his second consecutive bid. Boozer is averaging 16.1 points and 9.9 rebounds, ranking second in both categories on a team that is 25-16 and has playedithe entire season without its best player, Derrick Rose. “I told Carlos, he is an All-Star in my eyes,’’ Thibodeau said. Boozer was selected twice while he played with the Utah Jazz, playing in the 2007 and 2008 All-Star Games.
- The Bulls will play their fourth straight game without Deng, who is suffering from a right hamstring strain. Deng said he might be able to play Saturday in Washington.
- Golden State coach Mark Jackson played under Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on two different teams. Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets when Jackson was with those clubs as a point guard. Jackson said Thibodeau is the reason the Bulls are succeeding in Rose’s absence. “The great thing about him is that he is the same guy now that he was then,” Jackson said.
– Kent McDill