Around the NBA

BULLS: Fiery rookie Joakim Noah had a testy exchange with teammate Ben Wallace during a loss at Orlando on Tuesday, but coach Jim Boylan downplayed their argument. "A couple of words passed back and forth between teammates. That's all it was," Boylan said before Wednesday's game against the Miami Heat. "There was no confrontation." Noah had a confrontation with assistant coach Ron Adams in practice Friday and sat out the next two games for disciplinary reasons. KNICKS: Stephon Marbury was set for an MRI that could determine if he'll need surgery on his left ankle. It seemed like a waste of time to Marbury. The Knicks point guard sounded convinced the procedure would be necessary, even as the team held out hope that may not be the case. "I'm going to hear from them what I already know, what we've seen," Marbury said Wednesday. "I have a bone spur with a fracture in it. X-Ray shows that."

FIRST-YEAR IMPACT

Al Horford has already made a mark as a rookie, mostly on the boards.

The two-time national champion at Florida has averaged 9.0 points per game, but more impressive is the fact that he leads the NBA in rebounding among rookies with 9.8 per game.

He pulled down a game-high 19 rebounds in a loss to Washington this past Friday.

NEXT: at Toronto Raptors

WHEN: 7 p.m., Friday

TV: Fox Sports Net South

RECORD: 17-17

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