For a man who won two NCAA championships at Florida, once derisively called the Heat "Hollywood as Hell" and pours sweat and primal screams into every affair, Joakim Noah's answer sounded a bit surprising.

Asked if the Bulls need to win a championship to make this season successful, Noah shook his head.

"Not at all," he said. "That's always the ultimate goal and there's nothing more that I want than to win a championship. Right now, it's about building the right habits, playing in those big games."

Given Derrick Rose's season-ending knee injury, Noah's realism is refreshing. And his message — build championship habits at all times — is instructive.

Dressing just nine players again, the Bulls provided another example of perseverance and perspective with Tuesday night's 100-85 blowout of the Hawks at the United Center.

Noah certainly played as if a title were at stake, building some right habits with his fourth career triple-double and first this season. Noah almost achieved the milestone by halftime and finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high-tying 11 assists.

"Jo was unbelievable," coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Often, the first home game after an extended trip can be problematic. But in their first United Center appearance since Jan. 27, the Bulls got off to their third straight strong start. They led by 18 points in the first quarter and 25 at their largest point.