- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Noah, who scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in the Bulls' 100-99 overtime win over the Celtics on Friday night, acknowledged that Garnett is still throwing "elbows" and "cheap shots" toward him during games. The pair were called for double technicals in the fourth quarter and were tangled up most of the night.
When asked how he held Garnett to just 5-of-16 shooting from the field, Noah took the opportunity to remind everyone that he believes Garnett has questionable tactics.
"(I was) just playing defense," Noah said. "Just playing sound defense, just contesting his shots. He's a helluva competitor. He's always on some bulls---. Always on some bulls---."
Noah was asked for clarification of what Garnett was doing that upset him.
"Just trying to throw elbows," Noah said of Garnett. "Cheap shots, just trying to get you off your game. But he's a vet. He's been doing this a long time, but it's all right."
This isn't the first time Noah has called out Garnett publicly. During the 2010 Eastern Conference playoffs, Noah, who was busy trying to fight off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, went out of his way to discuss Garnett.
"He's a dirty player, man," Noah said at the time. "He's a dirty player. That's messed up, man ... I'm hurting right now because of an elbow he threw. It's unbelievable. He's a dirty player. It's one thing to be competitive and compete and all that, but don't be a dirty player. He's a dirty player."
Noah didn't exactly back off of those comments late Friday night. When asked if he still thought Garnett was a dirty player, Noah admitted that he probably shouldn't have made his feelings public but he didn't deny that he felt the same way.
"I feel like I was young, maybe talking a little bit too much," Noah said. "What happens on the court should stay on the court. I was pretty vocal about it, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is winning or losing basketball games. You don't have to like your opponents, it's all right. At the end of the day, the only thing I'm worried about is this team and I think that he's the same way with Boston. He's worried about his team and getting them going.
"I'm just happy that we beat them twice, they beat us once. It was a great game tonight. We fought hard, and the Bulls are on the way up. We're not even playing with our MVP. I know he's hungry to get back; it's all positive."
Noah, who stated in a 2010 interview with ESPN Chicago's "Waddle and Silvy" that Garnett was "mean ... and ugly," especially to foreign players, was asked if he felt Garnett ever crossed the line.
"Nah," he said. "When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we've been beating their asses, I'm cool with it."
Despite his comments, there is still some level of respect between both men. Noah has admitted in the past that he was a fan of Garnett's while he was growing up and even had Garnett's poster in his room.
Prior to the game, Garnett talked about the solid season Noah is having -- but it's obvious they will never see eye-to-eye, and Noah understands that.
"He wants to win and I want to win," Noah said. "I don't think it will ever be cool (between us)."
15hMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo
4dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer