Just a few days ago I wrote about how the Miami Heat needed to stop whining and get ready for bully ball, but then they went out and did something they seldom do; they were aggressive from the start.
“We got punched in the mouth tonight,” said the Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah from the post-game podium.
Miami came out like a desperate team ready to scratch, claw and instigate if they had to. And they had to early. One minute into the game, Dwyane Wade took a hard foul and decided to fire the ball at Marco Belinelli. It was the start of a night that featured nine technical fouls, two ejections and one flagrant foul.
I’m not sure what was more shocking though; the fact that Miami started the physical play or that Chicago seemed stunned by it. The whole thing seemed to catch them off guard, like a boxer that’s not used to getting hit.
“We got sidetracked and you can’t do that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said (via ESPN.com). “We allowed frustration to carry over to the next play.”
Chicago was wrapped up in the officiating more than playing defense, and I’m sure Pat Riley loved it. His team went out and pushed, body bumped, talked and elbowed. There were a few clean fouls and a bunch of dirty ones, sort of reminiscent of a lightweight version of his New York Knicks and Heat teams of the 90s.
This was the type of game that pretty much insured that the NBA‘s resident disciplinarian, Joey Crawford, would be refereeing Game 3.
At any rate, Miami stayed locked in for all four quarters, outplaying the Bulls offensively and defensively. So much so that they sported a lead that got as high as 46-points—a lead not even the Golden State Warriors could’ve blown.
But take it for what it’s worth. The Bulls came to Biscayne and got the one win that they wanted. They get to go back to Chicago with home court advantage in a city that Miami struggles in with the possibility that we could still see Derrick Rose.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.