LeBron floored as tempers flare
James took exception to an intentional foul by Chicago's Nazr Mohammed and flailed at him, which provoked the Bulls big man to floor James with a two-handed shove to the chest.
Mohammed was ejected while James received a technical foul, but the Bulls and their fans got an immediate boost of adrenaline and Chicago opened a six-point lead, forcing the Heat to call a timeout.
However, the Heat recovered to take a 52-50 halftime lead, despite James and Dwyane Wade combining for just 10 points, and held on for a 104-94 win to reclaim home-court advantage. James scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half.
Asked at halftime why he got so upset at Mohammed's foul, James said he felt the "extracurricular" stuff was unnecessary, but if presented with it, "we accept the challenge."
Afterward, asked if he thought about retaliating, James replied "Nope."
"I mean too much to my team," he said, adding, "If I get kicked out and Nazr Mohammed get kicked out at the same time, they win."
Is there punishment for striking king? Nice flop from James. Hasn't been down on push since the college guys did when he was in kindergarten— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) May 11, 2013
Magic Johnson, providing studio analysis at halftime, criticized Mohammed for what he called a needless foul that hurt his already short-handed team. Luol Deng, Kirk Heinrich and Derrick Rose all missed Game 3.
Game 2 was marred by fouls, technicals and ejections as the Heat routed the Bulls to even the series. Joakim Noah, who was ejected along with Taj Gibson, set a physical tone early in Game 3, shoving Chris Andersen aside after the Heat big man fouled Nate Robinson and landed on him.
League thought they could get this series under control with official Joey Crawford. Better bring in Mike Tyson next time— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) May 11, 2013