Four years ago, Joakim Noah and Al Horford were part of the same Florida frontline, celebrating the second of UF’s back-to-back national titles.
Now, both NBA big men are going mano-y-mano, with Horford’s Hawks splitting the first two games in Chicago against Noah’s Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Statistically, the matchup has been even. Noah has scored more (15 ppg), while averaging 11.5 rebounds and 2 assists in the first two games. Horford has been more deferential to his teammates, averaging 7.5 points and 5 assists. Like Noah, Horford has been a beast on the boards, grabbing 13.5 rebounds per game.
Noah still wears his emotions on his sleeve (he was whistled for a critical technical in Chicago’s Game 1 loss to Atlanta). Horford remains more reserved. Noah said the two don’t trash-talk while guarding each other on the court, because of their mutual respect for one another and their competitive desire to win.
The series moves on to Atlanta on Friday. The Florida big man that plays better from this point forward could have a big impact in leading his team to the Eastern Conference finals.
Also of note:
Nick Calathes said he doesn’t regret his decision to leave Florida for Greece.
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee has recommended a restricted area arc three feet from the basket where a secondary player cannot legally take a charge. The Rules Committee cited safety as the main reason for the proposed change.