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MIAMI -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah had an impassioned message for critics of teammate Derrick Rose after the Bulls' impressive 93-86 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night.
Noah took a question regarding how much pride he and his team feel being able to win without Rose while so many pundits count them out, and he went off on an emotional defense of his close friend.
"Derrick's a brother," Noah said. "And to see him go through this is tough, but at the end of the day it's really funny how quick people are to judge. But people don't know what it's like to lead a team, especially after you tore your ACL.
"If you tore your ACL and you have to be the starting point guard and have the expectations that Derrick has, then maybe you can judge, but everybody who hasn't been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it's just so unfair to him and to this team. We're fighting, and everybody's going to just s--- on somebody who's been giving so much to this organization. It's crazy to me."
Rose has been at the forefront of much criticism, especially on Twitter, as the Bulls have continued an impressive run through the postseason. A growing number of fans believe that Rose should be back on the floor as he continues his rehab from ACL surgery.
Rose admitted on Monday that his status for this series was "still up in the air. I might have a chance," despite the fact that he has yet to play this season.
Noah did not acknowledge whether he has spoken to Rose about the criticism, but it was clear he didn't like what he has been hearing. Rose said on Saturday that he hasn't paid much attention to the criticism, but Noah and the rest of his teammates have made it a point to stand up for Rose's decision not to play.
"He can say that he doesn't [listen to it]," Noah said. "I think he's dealing with it unbelievable. He's tough as nails, man. He's not budging. He doesn't let none of that affect him; whether it's praise or people judging him about his decision, he's the same. He's the same, and I really respect that because I don't think a lot of people could deal with the things that he deals with on a daily basis."