MIAMI — Joakim Noah was ejected early in the fourth quarter, and Taj Gibson followed him to the locker room a few seconds later after getting two technicals of his own.
They had no desire to see the ending.
And really, who on the Chicago Bulls’ bench could’ve blamed them?
“Things don’t go your way, you’re competitors, you want to go out there and do everything you can when you feel you’re being cheated,” forward Carlos Boozer said. “You’re going to say something about it. But regardless we don’t place the blame on anybody else, we put it on our shoulders and we’ll play better.”
After nine technical fouls, two ejections and a whole lot of extracurricular pushing and shoving, the end results were as follows: The biggest postseason win in Heat history, the biggest postseason loss in Chicago Bulls history, and tons of fresh venom pulsing through the veins of this now-tied Eastern Conference semifinal series. Miami won 115-78, a stunning outcome for a game that was basically back-and-forth for much of the first half.
That is, until the Heat started embarrassing the Bulls, and the Bulls started embarrassing themselves for good measure.
“No matter if you win by 20, 30, or one point, it’s a 1-1 series,” Heat star LeBron James said. “They came in and did their job. They got one on our floor and took home court. So, we’ve got to try to go Chicago and get it back.”
Game 3 is Friday in Chicago, where the Heat will have to win at least one game if they’re going to win the series.
Ray Allen scored 21 points in only 19 minutes, James finished with 19 points and nine assists, and the Heat led by as many as 46 points. Sure, the Heat have lost home-court advantage when they dropped Game 1. But this domination made the reigning NBA champions look like the clear-cut team to beat in this title race once again.
“Today, something was different,” said Bulls guard Nate Robinson, who made 3 of his 10 shots. “Not just with our play, just today was just weird.”
Noah and Gibson were tossed with 10:13 remaining, and the league will almost certainly review some of the things said and done in a game that was close for the first 20 minutes. The Bulls were called for six player technicals, the most by any team in a playoff game since Boston had that many against Indiana in 2005, according to STATS LLC.
“I don’t know how many techs we got. … I would call that not keeping your cool, not being very Zen,” Noah said.
Boozer, who scored only eight points, said he didn’t fault his teammates for speaking their minds — although cameras suggested that Gibson’s language was more than a little colorful.
The Heat had three technicals assessed, a season-high for them.