The Miami Heat-Chicago Bulls series was already noted for its physical, aggressive play in Game 2, when 51 fouls, nine technical fouls and one flagrant foul were issued during the Heat's dominating win over the Bulls. Things proved to be no different in Game 3, when the teams earned a combined 50 fouls and two technicals.
There was one play, however, that made Game 3 stand out above the rest. It happened in the second quarter, when Bulls reserve Nazr Mohammed shoved Heat superstar LeBron James to the court. It was a culmination of boiled-over tensions with both sides seemingly in the wrong. The refs seemed to agree, as even though Mohammed got ejected, James still got slapped with a technical.
Check out the play below, and judge for yourself:
It was a pretty crucial incident, as it robbed the Bulls of a valuable bench player while they're already dealing with a depleted roster. The Heat would go on to win, 104-94.
After the game, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was not pleased with the outcome, and insinuated that LeBron even flopped on the play, saying, "From my angle, i just saw a guy basically flop ... I'll leave it at that."
Bulls guard Nate Robinson was also unhappy with the call, but he goes one step further than Thibs and blames the refs' actions on LeBron's celebrity status:
Nate Robinson on LeBron James' crashing to the floor on Nazr Mohammed push: "You see LeBron in a lot of commercials, a lot of good acting."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 11, 2013
The Bulls lost a winnable game even while shutting down James and Dwyane Wade for the majority of it. This incident will doubtlessly be seen as the turning point in the series. Never mind that LeBron got hot at the end and helped ice the game, or that Wade was a reliable mailman with 5 assists, or that the Bulls somehow let a guy named Norris Cole score 18 points. No, it's definitely this one incident that won them the game. If I were you, I'd avoid sports radio for the next three days.
Oh well, at least it's better than Derrick Rose talk.