Danny Granger rips Joakim Noah
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The Bulls' 116-89 victory eliminated the Pacers in five games and capped off a physical series that saw Pacers forward Josh McRoberts ejected after a skirmish with Noah on Tuesday. Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough also tangled with the Bulls' center.
"He pulled a cowardly move," Granger said. "He cheap-shotted a couple of my teammates, and one gets thrown out ...
"The refs never catch what he did ... it's cowardly. And I'm going to say something about it. I wanted to say something about it all the way to the game was over. I just don't think the game should be played that way. You can play hard and fight and battle, but when you start cheap-shotting people it gets out of hand."
Granger said he was going to talk to Noah after the game, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau intervened.
"It's just heat of the battle stuff," Thibodeau said.
Granger praised the rest of the Bulls and said he hopes they win the NBA title.
Noah returned the praise, even after hearing of Granger's frustration.
"I played dirty? OK. I'm just trying to win basketball games, man," Noah said. "It's the name of the game.
"I'm just out there trying to do what I gotta do. Like I said, I give a lot of credit to their team. They play hard as hell. They were competitive. I don't have anything bad to say about them. Everybody saw what happened out there. Now you want to call me a dirty player? I don't think I've ever been a dirty player. It is what it is. It's OK."
The Pacers were credited with dictating the series' physical style in the first three games, but Noah seemed to turn up the intensity in Game 5.
McRoberts appeared to catch an elbow to the neck when he and Noah battled near the lane. He then tried to return a shot, for which he was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. But McRoberts didn't agree with Granger's assertion that the play was dirty.
"I'm not mad about it," McRoberts said. "He got a good hit on me. They caught me trying to hit him back.
"It's part of the game. I'm not going to say it's dirty. That's Game 5 of a playoff series. You can't say it's dirty, it's part of basketball."
Bulls guard Kyle Korver was surprised to hear that a Pacer was crying foul.
"Come on now. All this stuff we've talked about with the Pacers the last few days and how they're [giving] hard fouls," Korver said. "Come on. It's the playoffs, right?
"It's the playoffs. That's what it is. There's going to be hard fouls. There's going to be stuff being said. I think they were mad they were down a little bit, and Jo played with a lot of energy. Jo played great. Jo's one of those guys, when you're not on his team he pisses you off. That's just the way it is. He's like Jeff Foster. When he's on your team, you love him. When he's on the other team, you hate him. And that's one of the special things about Jo."
Roman Modrowski is a senior editor for ESPNChicago.com.