Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has admitted that he feels the pressure of a whole city to deliver when his side go up against reigning NBA champions Miami Heat, after an impressive 107-87 victory at United Center.
Noah was the heartbeat of a Chicago side full of hustle and managed 17 points and 16 rebounds at the American Airlines Arena, as Miami were left ruing the absence of Dwayne Wade in a second successive defeat.
Despite struggling since Derrick Rose was forced out through injury Noah is adamant that they will never fail to find motivation to take on the Heat, a team he readily admits the city of Chicago have little time for.
He told NBC Chicago: “I think for the people in this city, there's something about when Miami comes to town. You wake up in the morning and you just feel it. You feel people in this city, they don't like [the] Miami Heat.
“We don't like the Miami Heat. It always feels good to beat them. A lot of battles. A lot of scars, a lot of tough losses, a lot of seasons ending because of them."
"I think we've been through a lot with a lot of guys in this group. We've been through a lot of adversity, a lot of battles together, and we know we're battle tested."
The Bulls have regularly enjoyed success against Miami during the regular season in recent years, but have come unstuck under the pressure of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Chicago are just starting to show signs of recovery after dealing with the considerable blow of losing Rose, one win away from clawing back a .500 record in the East.