View Full Version : Andres Nocioni Keeping Bulls in the Playoffs

05-01-2006, 04:53 PM
Andres has been amazing against Miami. Nocioni had 24 points and 7 rebounds in a win that tied the series with Miami at 2-2. For the 4 games thus far, "Noc" is averaging 22.7pts, 9.5 rebounds, shooting 54% from the field, almost 90% from the line and 48% from three. I didn't know it was possible but his intensity level has racheted up a notch and His concentration on his jumpshot hasn't been shaken. It is very rare to have such a high-energy, aggressive player to also be such a great shooter.


NBA PLAYOFFS: Nocioni’s all-around play keeping Bulls in series from the Post-Tribune (click for article) (http://www.post-trib.com/cgi-bin/pto-story/sports/z1/05-01-06_z1_spor_02.html)

May 1, 2006

aff writer

CHICAGO — No-Ci-Oni ... No-Ci-Oni ... No-Ci-Oni.

Andres Nocioni has become a cult hero in Chicago lately.

And why not? The 6-foot-7 forward from Santa Fe, Argentina fits right into the blue-collar, rough-edged persona that has been bestowed upon the Windy City.

So it was no surprise when his name occasionally reverberated down from the rafters of the United Center during Sunday’s 93-87 victory over Miami.
It came around six minutes into the second quarter when Nocioni dunked the ball off a behind-the-back feed from Ben Gordon on a breakaway and Miami called timeout.

No-Ci-Oni ... No-Ci-Oni.

The crowd just kept getting louder trying to drown out the public address announcer during the break.

Michael Jordan was loved, but more than 22,000 Bulls fans never chanted his name repeatedly at the United Center, though MJ was cheered loudly on Thursday when he was shown on the scoreboard in one of the suites.
Scottie Pippen never had his name chanted, even though the retired player, now NBA analyst was cheered loudly on Sunday when he was also shown on the scoreboard watching the game.

Nocioni is a unique player made in the likeness of most of the fans yelling his name and in the likeness of his coach.

“I don’t know what to say about him that I already haven’t said,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said before listing Nocioni’s best traits that actually sound a lot like Skiles when he was a player.

“He’s a great defender. He has experience. He’s a man. He’s genuinely tough, not the false bravado tough you see every now and then throughout the league. The effort and energy he displays out there is the trademark of our team.”

Nocioni continued his stellar play in this year’s playoffs on Sunday afternoon, leading the Bulls in scoring for the second time in the series. In fact, he led all scorers with 24 points as well as leading the team in rebounds (7), steals (3) and hustle points.

What are hustle points? That’s the term used by many basketball coaches for the plays that don’t show up in the scorebook — taking a charge, batting a pass away, going hard to the basket to get hammered.
All of that suits Nocioni just fine since that’s what he’s used to from his international playing days.

“I like to play like this,” he said, while wearing a corduroy jacket and plain T-shirt at the interview table, looking like an English professor instead of a hard-nosed basketball player. “Everybody like to play like this. We play hard defense and we try to run the floor. I play like a power forward, but I’m a small forward.”

After averaging 13.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in the regular season, Nocioni has stepped up his game to average 22.8 ppg and 9.5 rpg in four playoff games so far.

Despite some fans across the league not knowing much about Nocioni, Miami coach Pat Riley claims his talent was definitely no secret.

“We’ve watched incredible improvement when he came out of South America,” he said. “Everybody knew who he was and noticed him. John (Paxson) got the first crack at him and signed him. He’s playing with a lot of moxy and a lot of experience and a lot of confidence right now. It’s just one of the great moves John has made.”

And it could prove to be a move that leads to the franchise’s first playoff series win in eight years.

05-01-2006, 05:17 PM
From the Chicago Tribune/ChicagoSports.com: Link to article (http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/cs-060422bullsbrite,1,7758868.story?coll=cs-home-headlines):

Angry opponents make for happy Nocioni
By Marlen Garcia, Tribune staff reporter

April 22, 2006, MIAMI -- Andres Nocioni has heard the story before, that he's an actor on the court who flops to get calls from officials.

Over the weekend, the Heat's Antoine Walker became the latest Bulls foe to accuse Nocioni of flopping.

"If I am the actor, I won the Oscar," Nocioni said with a smile in response.

Walker had said Nocioni is "very good at flopping and acting. He's a guy you have to keep your head against. … Sometimes the officials buy it; sometimes they don't."

Washington Wizards players made the same claim about Nocioni in the playoffs last year, making him immune to the criticism.

"If the refs call charge, it's a charge and that's it," Nocioni said.

Sure enough, in the first quarter of Game 1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs Saturday night, Nocioni drew a charge against a driving Walker. He stood his ground for another one in the second quarter against Udonis Haslem, infuriating the crowd at American Airlines Arena.

On a later possession, Haslem tried to fight for position against Nocioni. Haslem ended up on the ground but the official made no call. He appeared to throw his mouthpiece at the official, who ejected Haslem with 4 minutes 11 seconds left in the first half.

"The way he plays, he tends to frustrate people because he's all over you," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said of Nocioni, who finished with 18 points and a team-high 16 rebounds. "You push him off, and he'll fall down, and you get an offensive foul. A lot of times it's just smart basketball.

"He's very animated out there. That's the way he has played since his first game in the NBA. He plays with a lot of intensity and a lot of emotion."

Nocioni was a catalyst in the Bulls' 12-2 finish to make the playoffs. In the last 10 games of the regular season, he averaged 17.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

He was the only Bull to play in all 82 games this season and he had a team-high 13 double-doubles, including eight in a row from March 28 to April 12.

"We wouldn't be here without him," Hinrich said.

05-01-2006, 06:38 PM
Another from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-bulls30apr30,0,152888.story?coll=sfla-sports-headlines)

Nocioni the best at being a pest
By Michael Cunningham, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted April 30 2006

Deerfield, Ill. · Chicago Bulls forward Andres Nocioni has been a persistent pain for the Heat with his physical, relentless play.

Nocioni's teammates know how the Heat players feel.

"He does it in practice," said Bulls center Michael Sweetney. "He is the type of guy [who] is not going to back down from anybody. He is not going to go away. He is going to keep coming and coming."

The Heat's run-ins with Nocioni started even before the first-round playoff series that continues today at the United Center.

First there was Nocioni's flagrant foul against guard Dwyane Wade last season. Udonis Haslem was ejected for retaliating and then-coach Stan Van Gundy railed against the play to reporters for days after.

In Game 1 of the playoff series, Nocioni helped send Haslem tumbling to the floor under the basket. Haslem then tossed his mouthpiece toward an official in frustration at the no-call and earned a suspension for Game 2.

Before the series started, Heat forward Antoine Walker said Nocioni is an actor and flopper. In the first quarter of Game 3, Nocioni visibly frustrated Walker while scoring 11 points in the period.

"He's kind of an in-your-face guy," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "He will have the smart play where he will be all over you for two or three possessions and then you throw an arm, and it's an offensive foul. I think he does frustrate guys with his style of play."

But Nocioni's performance shows that he's also a skilled and versatile 6-foot-7 forward. Nocioni is averaging 16 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in the series.

"He can shoot the three, he can drive to the basket, he can post up and rebound, he runs the floor on the break," Sweetney said. "I think he has the complete package."

Nocioni, a native of Argentina, first gained attention here when he helped his country to the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Argentines beat the Americans in the semifinals.

In his rookie season Nocioni was a part-time starter, averaging 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game. He was a part-time starter again this season and averaged 13 points, 6.1 rebounds and 27.3 minutes.

This season Nocioni improved his 3-point shooting percentage from 26 percent to 39 percent while taking 230 more attempts.

"He's played at a very high level all year, whether we brought him off the bench or started him," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "He's had a great year. At some point you realize it's not a fluke anymore."

Bulls fans have responded to Nocioni. They chanted his name more than once during Game 3 on Thursday.

"I feel good [about the chants]," Nocioni said. "I need to say thank you to everybody. I like the people to say my name, but it is just one game."

The Heat will get at least two more games of Nocioni, who, teammates say, frequently prompts opponents to carp to officials about his tactics.

"A lot of people complain about him and say he's dirty," Sweetney said. "I don't think he is at all. I think he's just a hard-nosed player."

05-03-2006, 09:35 PM
23pts and 10 rebounds for Nocioni in last night's loss to the Miami Heat.

Some images of Nocioni from the series thus far... Check out the second one, it's a pretty sweet pic.


05-06-2006, 11:08 AM
OK, now that the Bulls are out, this thread should be renamed to something like "Nocioni article collection". I enjoyed reading the following articles, so please allow me to contribute to the "flood" ;)

Scrappy Noce giving Miami fits
May 1, 2006

You think Andres Nocioni doesn't frustrate another team? You think, right now, there's a pro coach on this planet who wouldn't love to have the second-year forward from Argentina on his team?

Noce scored a game-high 24 points Sunday in the Bulls' 93-87 victory over the Miami Heat that evened the series at two games apiece.

The pale, sandy-bearded fellow made 7 of 8 free throws, had a team-high seven rebounds and three steals and basically made the Heat realize something is busted in its approach to the game.

Consider the Heat's meltdown just before halftime, when the always-edgy, ever-mouthy Gary Payton and superstar Dwyane Wade nearly got into it during a timeout huddle.

" you!'' snapped Wade, the scoring phenom who essentially had been turned into a dishing point guard by the swarming defense of Nocioni and the Bulls. "I'm not your [bleep]!''

A good part of the problem for the Heat is that it clearly didn't take the Bulls' overachieving and under-recognized players as seriously as it should have.

Maybe Payton could jabber until the season ends, but none of his nonsense even would have occurred if Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Ben Gordon hadn't shown how the whole of a team can be far greater than its pieces.

And then there's the demoralizing equalizer that is Nocioni.

No one ever has called Noce a superstar, but here he is after four playoff games averaging almost 23 points and 10 rebounds and shooting 54 percent from the field and 89 percent from the free-throw line.

And there's no accounting for the frustration he causes opponents by jumping in front of their dribbles, slapping the ball from their hands, leaping for rebounds, hitting the floor more often than the ball boy's mop.

"I like to play like this, you know,'' Nocioni said of the high-pressured, ever-so-loud playoff conditions that complement his fervor. "We play hard defense, we run the floor, move the big guys, move the Miami guys.''

That would mean moving Shaquille O'Neal, the biggest guy of all, who's getting moved a lot to a seat on the bench.

That is mostly due to foul trouble.

But fouls occur from frustration and uncertainty and bad positioning and hustle by the other team.

And Nocioni is pretty sure he hasn't singlehandedly turned the Heat into softies.

"They play different in Miami,'' he said. "They play harder in Miami. And we know we have to win a game there.''

Which will not be easy.

But Bulls coach Scott Skiles has turned loose his secret weapon, giving Nocioni so much playing time that the forward even logged more time acourt Sunday (45:48) than the indefatigable Wade.

"Noce has had a great year,'' Skiles said. "I don't know what to say about him I haven't already said.''

But Nocioni averaged only 13 points, six rebounds and 27.3 minutes during the regular season.

Now he has jacked into a new dimension.

"He's a man,'' Skiles continued. "He's genuinely tough -- not the false bravado you see out there around the league.''

"We've watched incredible improvement when he came out of South America,'' dispirited Heat coach Pat Riley said. "They've done a great job of developing him. He's playing with a lot of moxie, a lot of experience and confidence.''

Good as gold

Perhaps Riley is wondering why some scout in near-tropical Miami didn't notice the gem-in-the-rough before Bulls general manager John Paxson, who signed Noce the week before Argentina played its first game in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Oh, and Argentina won those Games.

And the United States finished third.

I remember approaching Nocioni only moments after his team had come from behind to beat Serbia and Montenegro 83-82 in the opener, with his teammate Emanuel Ginobili having fired in a wild bank shot at the buzzer.

Noce had played an aggressive, muscular, Euro-flop-and-hack game, finishing with 12 points and lots of key rebounds and defensive plays.

Of his English, he said, "I have no.''

But he knew he was a Bull, and when I told him Paxson was thinking of starting him at the three spot, right from the get-go, Noce blushed in shock.

"No,'' he said with amazement. "No.''

Now he asks the NBA attendants at the United Center dais if he should answer a Latino reporter's question "in English or in Spanish?''

He's comfortable with it all these days.

"I play with confidence,'' he pointed out. "I play like this in Europe, nothing different.''

Mostly, he wants us to know, "I need to say thank you to the coach.''

Heat has no answer for him

Nocioni, truth be told, poses thorny problems for Miami in that the Heat doesn't have a player who matches up well with him.

Antoine Walker and Udonis Haslem are both bigger and not as active as Noce. James Posey and Shandon Anderson are both skinnier.

"The team believes we can win the series,'' said Nocioni, who gets his name chanted by the UC crowd more than anyone else these days.


It has the same meter and number of syllables as, "Un-der-ra-ted!''

Source: Chicago Sun-Times
URL: http://www.suntimes.com/output/telander/cst-spt-rick01.html

[B]Nocioni relishes being Bulls' enforcer By Tom D'Angelo
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 24, 2006

COCONUT GROVE - Bulls coach Scott Skiles says his irritating forward, Andres Nocioni, isn't even close to former NBA bad boys Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman.

"Totally different players," Skiles said when asked about their abilities circumvent the rules.

But Heat guard Dwyane Wade's no comment when asked about Nocioni's hard foul in Miami's Game 1 victory of the opening-round series spoke volumes about Nocioni's growing reputation.

"I like to play hard, it's my style," Nocioni said Sunday. "Ever since I played I have played like this. If somebody says something about the way I play, it's not my problem."

So, just who is this Andres Nocioni? Besides being an international player with two gold and three silver medals, the 6-foot-7 Nocioni, in his second season, is becoming known for his hustle, reckless play and, yes, even going over the top.

"He's a Keith Askins, he's Dan Majerle, he's Bruce Bowen," Heat coach Pat Riley said, referring to three of his more competitive, hard-nosed players since he's been in Miami. "You've got to play him and compete against him. What you want to do is try to make your presence felt before you feel his presence."

Nocioni, 26, was well known abroad long before coming to Chicago as a free agent before the 2005 season. He played on Argentina's gold-medal-winning team in the 2004 Olympics, which starred Manu Ginobili, and made an impression as a rare physical player in an international game that is known more for skill and grace.

"He was totally nuts when he was younger," Ginobili once told the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper. "Now he's settled down. Before he was wild, wild, wild. He was doing crazy stuff and fighting with everybody and doing stuff to win just with heart."

The Heat was introduced to Nocioni last season when he committed a flagrant foul against Wade before being shoved into the first two rows of the seats at AmericanAirlines Arena by Udonis Haslem. Ten days ago, Nocioni was fined $5,000 and assessed a flagrant foul 2 for unnecessary and excessive contact against Atlanta's Josh Childress.

"Some guys play hard, some guys play harder," Skiles said. "He's a hard-playing guy. I have never seen him do anything that was out of hand, over the top. In a league where a lot of players feel a degree of entitlement, a guy like him that doesn't feel that can stand out."

Nocioni is more than muscle. He averaged 13.0 points and 6.1 rebounds this season while sharing the starting small forward spot with Luol Deng. But Nocioni has taken over the position, starting the past 15 games, in which the Bulls are 12-3.

Nocioni also had 252 fouls, second most on the team behind Tyson Chandler.

Skiles, the third-year Bulls coach, gained a reputation as a hard-nosed, intense player during his 10 seasons in the NBA, including two as Shaquille O'Neal's teammate in Orlando. Skiles' and Nocioni's physical differences aside - Skiles is 6-1 - the coach believes his player's game compares more favorably to his than to the Rodmans or Laimbeers.

"I was a physical player but I don't have the physical gifts," Skiles said. "I'm small. He's more athletic.

"The one thing about Noce, you never have to be worried about him being ready to play. You have to be sometimes concerned he's too ready to play. You just have to make sure he's relaxed enough. He was a little charged up in the beginning (in Game 1), he calmed down and then he had a very good game. I had some of the same struggles."

Nocioni was in the middle of the play in which Haslem threw his mouthpiece at referee Joey Crawford and was ejected, tangling with Haslem under the Heat basket, causing Haslem to land out of bounds and lose his cool.

Two minutes earlier, Nocioni drew a charge on Haslem.

"He's going to stick his nose in there," Heat forward Antoine Walker said. "And he's probably the heart and soul of their team because he does all the little things on the floor that drives players on other teams crazy."

Source: Palm Beach Post
URL: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/heat/content/sports/epaper/2006/04/24/a8c_bullssider_0424.html

A similar article @ Miami Herald
Full Article: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/14414052.htm