Death by point center, according to Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, is a sight to behold.



"It kills you," the Maywood, Ill., native said after his team's 100-89 loss Tuesday night to his hometown Bulls at the United Center. "[Joakim] Noah's terrific. He's such a great passer. With Rose out, he's their point guard. He makes their decisions. I bet 10 times in the first half, the play clock [runs down], he flashes to the ball and makes the play, either by scoring or with his passing. He's just an extremely high I.Q. basketball player. I've said it for years now and it's getting higher and higher."

When told of the former NBA point guard's praises, Noah responded, "Doc—I appreciate it.



"I always tell everybody I'm a 'point center' anyway, but I always feel like I can pass the ball and I feel more comfortable with the offense. We have a lot of people who can score the ball in different ways. Lu's a great cutter, Carlos catches almost any pass — I can throw it almost anywhere, he'll catch it — so just everybody. I think it was a great team effort and we've just got to keep going," he continued after his 11-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist outing, the second triple-double of his NBA career. "It feels great to play well and to win. Everybody's happy right now. I feel like we're getting so much better as a team and even against the elite teams in the NBA, we're competing against everybody and we have some tough games coming up, but let's enjoy this one tonight and get ready for New York."



Noah isn't big on statistical accomplishments, at least not discussing them with the media, but privately, he spoke of being inspired by watching the likes of retired NBA center Vlade Divac while growing up — specifically in the 1996 Olympics, in person — and being tutored by former Bull Brad Miller (ironically, Divac's replacement in Sacramento), one of the better passing big men of recent vintage.