Since the Chicago Bulls’ upset of the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their second round playoff series, players on both teams have been flopping across the line separating playing hard and acting like a child. Statistically speaking, last night’s Game 3 wasn’t as chippy as Wednesday’s Game 2, which featured nine technical fouls, one flagrant foul, two ejections, and some meme-worthy fan rage.
Though Game 3 – which the Heat won 104-94 to take a 2-1 series lead, had only three technical fouls and one ejection – it nonetheless had it’s share of bad behavior, starting with the teams’ refusal to exchange any pregame handshakes or fist bumps.
The most analyzed Game 3 altercation was this incident involving LeBron James, Nazr Mohammed, and official Joey Crawford.
It’s not clear to me why Mohammed decided to wrap up James early in the second quarter. But the tactic was effective. Crawford gave James a technical for either (depending on whom you ask) trying to pull himself loose from Mohammed’s grasp or throwing Mohammed to the ground in frustration.
But Mohammed didn’t stop there. After the whistle, while James was pleading his case to Crawford, Mohammed gave James a hard shove, earning himself a technical foul and an ejection, slimming a Bulls roster that is already dangerously thin.
Such a push would cause just about anyone to lose his balance, but the Bulls were convinced that James flopped to draw the call on Mohammed. Nate Robinson, for instance, said after the game, “You see LeBron in a lot of commercials, a lot of good acting.” Which is funny because ESPN’s Inside the NBA team wasted a segment the other night discussing whether LeBron was doing enough commercials.
There were plenty of other chippy moments in Game 3. Late in the first quarter Joakim Noah shoved Chris Andersen after the Birdman’s hard, but clean, foul on Robinson.
And here’s Noah sarcastically applauding an argument between Heat teammates Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers:
And, just for fun, here’s official Joey Crawford running into a camera man:
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to dwell on all the game’s low points without lifting up some of the highlights, such as Bosh’s 20-point, 19-rebound performance, the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler playing a full 48 minutes for the fourth time in five games and all 69-inches of Nate Robinson coming out of nowhere to block James.
Game 4 is Monday night on TNT. It should be fun.