Chicago Bulls centre Nazr Muhammad got ejected from Game 3 on Friday night for shoving LeBron James to the ground.
After the game, coach Tom Thibodeau called LeBron out for flopping, saying, “From my angle, I saw a guy basically flop. I don’t think it warranted an ejection. I understand a flagrant foul, I understand that, but ejection, no, nope.”
He also made a more general claim about the officiating in the series, “I see how things are going, I watch very closely. We’re not going to get calls, that’s reality.”
Since coaches aren’t allowed to criticise officials, those statements got Thibodeau fined $35,000, the NBA announced yesterday.
Here’s the ejection (more below):
Chicago has been rough with the Heat in this series (and their regular-season games too). It’s a sound strategy — they want to wear down LeBron, deter him from driving to the rim, and force him to settle for relatively low-percentage jump shots. But that strategy is inevitably going to lead to a fouling discrepancy and the kind of borderline plays we saw on Friday night.
Who knows if LeBron flopped or not on Friday. He went down pretty easy, but then again Muhammad is a massive dude. LeBron also appeared to be off-balance before the shove came.
The bottom line is that the Bulls are going to get called for more fouls because of how they are choosing to defend the Heat.
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