After a brief moment with the Clippers, Joakim Noah has officially retired. He was an outspoken leader and defensive force that became an adequate playmaker. He meant a lot to the basketball community especially to Bulls fans throughout this past decade. Before we go any further, make sure to check out this article to read what made Noah so special.
Joakim Noah had many great games in his career, but to me, these were the games that stood out the most. The following games were not only about how he did statistically but also about the circumstances and significance of each game. Let’s look at the games that helped define his legacy.
March 15, 2014 (Chicago Bulls vs Sacramento Kings)
Noah had 23 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks, 3 steals while shooting 9/15 from the field, and shooting 5/6 from the free-throw line. Although the stat line was very impressive, it was against the lowly Kings who had a record of 23-42 at the time.
April 30, 2009 (Bulls vs Celtics game 7)
One of the greatest playoff games ever played. Noah did not have a particularly great statical game, but this was arguably the greatest moment of Noah’s career. His steal and dunk will go down as one of the best Bulls plays in franchise history. If you were ever to make a list about Noah, this would have to at least be mentioned.
5) January 15, 2014 (Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic)
After The Bulls decided to trade his close friend and all-star Luol Deng a week prior, Noah realized he had to take even more responsibility. During a grueling triple-overtime game, Noah had 26 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals, while shooting 9/16 from the field and 8/10 from the free-throw line. Even without Rose and Deng, Noah would go on to lead the Bulls to the playoffs. He also ended up winning NBA defensive player of the year and placing fourth in the MVP voting.
4) October 31, 2012 (Chicago Bulls vs Sacramento Kings)
The first game of the first season without Derrick Rose. There was so much uncertainty surrounding how the Bulls would do without him and who would step up. This was Noah’s shot to show that he can be the guy. Noah had 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 blocks, and 3 assists while shooting 6/12 from the field and 11/12 from the free-throw line. With his leadership, the team was not going to fail regardless of who was out on the floor.
3) February 28, 2013 (Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia Sixers)
There have been plenty of triple-doubles in his career, but this was hands down the most impressive. Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds, 11 BLOCKS, 3 steals, and 1 assist while shooting 8/12 from the field and 7/9 from the free-throw line. Joakim’s defensive IQ and help defense were on full display. There was nothing the Sixers could do inside the paint. If there ever was a game that showed how much he brought to a defense, it was this one.
2) December 07, 2012 (Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons)
Noah was always known as just a hard worker, but this game put the league on notice that he was a full-blown star. Noah had 30 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals while shooting 12 of 19 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. He did it all. It was the epitome of combining hard work and talent as Noah had career-highs in points and rebounds in the same game. It will arguably go down as his greatest regular-season performance ever.
1) May 4, 2013 (Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets)
Noah had better statistical games in his career, but no one will dispute that this was the greatest game he has ever played. The playoffs are just a different animal compared to the regular season. The Bulls had a commanding 3-1 lead in the series but managed to lose the next two games to force a game 7. The Nets had all of the momentum on their side, a more talented roster, and were playing at home. The Bulls were without all-star Luol Deng and starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, due to injuries. Saying that the Bulls came in as underdogs, was a severe understatement, but Noah did not plan on losing. Through all adversity, Noah had 24 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 assist on 12/17 shooting from the field. The short-handed Bulls managed to pull off the huge upset with a depleted roster under the leadership of Joakim Noah. This will forever be known as his signature game.