An at times wild and testy series sparked another incident Friday night in Game Three of the Eastern Conference second round matchup between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.
Bulls center Nazr Mohammed was ejected for shoving Miami’s LeBron James in the second quarter, after the two were tangled up at midcourt on a fast break.
In an attempt to keep the game from getting out of hand, referee Joey Crawford first called a technical on James for seemingly throwing Mohammed to the ground.
The 7-footer popped back up and responded by pushing James, who fell to the floor. Each player on the court then got in the middle, but no further technicals were issued, and coaches called their players back to the bench.
Mohammed said after the game that he thought an ejection was unwarranted, and essentially accused James of flopping to make the shove look worse than it actually was. Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau fully agreed.
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"From my angle, I just saw a guy basically flop," Thibodeau said. "And I'm going to leave it at that."
Miami went on to win 104-94, behind 20 points and 19 rebounds from Chris Bosh, and 25 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists tallied by James. The Heat now own a 2-1 series lead.
This was the second incident in as many games involving players on both sides overreacting to typical hard fouls, and possibly one-sided officiating.
Game Two saw Chicago center Joakim Noah and forward Taj Gibson thrown out of the 37-point blowout for lambasting officials for missing calls. All told, the Bulls earned six technical fouls in Game Two, and Miami three.
Gibson was fined $25,000 by the NBA Friday for his tirade, while Noah avoided a suspension.
Earlier in Game Three, Noah also picked up his third technical of the series in the first quarter after pushing Heat forward Chris Andersen off of Nate Robinson after the guard was fouled on a play at the basket.
Bosh told reporters after the game that the rough play is part of playoff basketball.
"You can't win a championship being pretty and shiny," Bosh said. "You're going to have to get dirty. You're going to have to play physical. You're going to have to dive on the floor. You're going to have to do things that are extremely tough.”
The video below shows the entire incident.