Noah, Bulls win Game 7


Bulls center Joakim Noah, center, reacts after scoring a basket against the Nets in the first half of Chicago’s Game 7 win in New York on Saturday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 12:13 a.m.

NEW YORK — Joakim Noah climbed over the baseline seats, his foot that hurt so much two weeks ago that he feared he couldn’t play looking pain-free as he embraced his mother.

The first Game 7 in Brooklyn belonged not to the Nets, but to the guy who played here in high school.

“I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” Noah said.

Injured, ill and just as determined as ever, the Chicago Bulls beat the Nets 99-93 on Saturday night to win the first-round series.

Noah had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Marco Belinelli also scored 24 points to help the Bulls advance to a second-round series against defending champion Miami that starts Monday night.

Carlos Boozer added 17 points as the Bulls shook off injuries to two starters and every run the Nets tried to make in the second half to win a Game 7 on the road for the first time in franchise history.

“I’m just so proud of this team. We’ve been fighting through so much all year and to be in this situation, play on the biggest stage in the world and to be able to win and now play against the Heat, all these experiences, I (don’t) take those for granted,” Noah said.

With Luol Deng (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) out again and Derrick Rose still not ready to return from last year’s torn ACL, the Bulls leaned on Noah, who could barely play when the Bulls were blown out here two weeks ago in Game 1 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He logged 41 minutes and shot 12 of 17 while also blocking six shots.

“It’s disappointing. We won Game 6, we felt like this was our series, but they came out and played a great game,” Deron Williams said. “Noah, like I said, he’s a warrior. He battled through his injuries and just had a monster game. We really had no answers for him down low tonight.”

Noah helped the Bulls spoil the Nets’ first home Game 7 in their NBA history at the end of their first season in Brooklyn. They had played only one Game 7 in all their years while they were based in New Jersey, falling at Detroit in 2004.

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