“What’s going on over there?” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau asked, as a huge contingent of media huddled around Joakim Noah’s locker.

Thibodeau, who was in a rare jovial mood—at least occasionally—during his postgame press conference, knew the answer: Thursday night, the All-Star center recorded a triple-double of 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocked shots—tying a franchise mark for most blocks in a regulation game, set by Artis Gilmore back in 1977, during the same game in which he had the last triple-double in the three categories by a Bulls player—to will the Bulls to a 93-82 victory over Philadelphia at the United Center.

Not only did the much-needed win allow the short-handed squad—without both top reserve Taj Gibson, out for the second consecutive game with a sprained left MCL, and starter Rip Hamilton, who was a late scratch due to lower back spasms—to close out a rough month of February on a positive note, but it occurred against the 76ers, the team that ousted the Bulls from last year’s playoffs, its fans cheering when Noah severely sprained his ankle during the first-round series.

“It feels really good to play well, to win, especially against the Sixers,” Noah said. “That was probably one of my biggest motivations, just rehabbing my ankle. Before the playoffs started last year, I really felt like we were in position to win the championship and Derrick went down, and it was very hard on the team and then getting injured, and just the [Sixers] fans, the way they reacted, I kind of used that as motivation.”

A whirlwind of perpetual motion on the floor on a nightly basis, Noah played like a man possessed Thursday, seemingly using sheer determination to ensure that the Bulls ended the evening successfully, while just happening to notch his third career triple-double—his second this season and first in his career with blocks—in the process.

“I wanted to get it, but I wanted to win more. It was a good win for us and hopefully we can build on it. We’ve got some tough opponents coming up, teams that we could face, possibly, in the playoffs. It’s a good win for us, we needed it bad and now we’ve just got to keep going,” explained Noah, who admitted that teammate Carlos Boozer—who called the performance a “legendary game”—informed him when he was nearing the feat. “I think I played my game. I’m not somebody who’s going to score in the post. It just depends on where the ball bounces, I guess. I’m going [to the backboard for rebounds] every time.”