Joakim Noah was ejected early in the fourth after receiving his second technical foul. / Robert Mayer, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI - Tom Thibodeau's Chicago Bulls usually don't crack.
But several fissures during their embarrassing 115-78 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series led to an uncharacteristic implosion early in the fourth quarter with the game completely in Miami's favor.
In game that had already had six technical fouls issued by referees trying to keep a physical contest from getting out of control, Bulls center Joakim Noah and forward Taj Gibson were ejected with 10:13 left in the fourth quarter and the Heat up 93-56.
Noah, who had already received a technical earlier in the game, drew his second technical protesting a foul called on Bulls guard Marquis Teague. Two technical fouls equals an automatic ejection. When Noah got ejected, Taj Gibson looked for explanation and received two quick technical fouls on the same deadball.
By the time reporters met with both players, emotions had settled.
"It's frustrating. I lost my cool," Gibson said. "It's playoff basketball. There's a lot of aggression out there. You've got to be there for your teammates. Things weren't going our way. You're going to get frustrated, especially when you're getting blown out. We lost our composure as a team. This hardly happens to me.
"We just have to go out there and play. Unfortunately for us, we ran off the game plan. We got ourselves in a big hole. That was the one thing that was so frustrating."
Gibson had to be restrained from going after an official after his ejection and was ushered off the court by Bulls support staffers.
Noah even provided a light moment afterward.
"Not being very Zen," he said.
Noah said he deserved the ejection. "I just wanted to let the referee know how I felt about the game," he said.
In typical Noah bravado, he already was fired up for Game 3 on Friday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
"It's not the end of the world. It's 1-1. It's going to be a big Game 3 in Chicago."
Thibodeau, in the same monotone voice in which he always speaks, said, "We got sidetracked and you can't do that. We allowed a lot of frustration to carry over to the next play. You have to have poise under pressure. You come in here, you're not going to get calls. That's the way it is. That's reality.
"You can't get wrapped up in that stuff. You have to stay focused on the task at hand."
The Bulls probably feel like they let down their dad, and the dad was so mad, he didn't have it in him to yell. But Thibodeau's disappointment was clear.
There were three technical fouls in the first half - two on Miami and one on Chicago - as referees tried to allow both teams to play physical without it getting out of control. The Bulls were hit with two technicals in the second quarter and Miami received one in the third.
Neither coach said the game was too physical, chippy or dirty.
"It was playoff basketball," Thibodeau said. "You have to have more fight, more determination. They're a great team. You have to keep coming for 48 minutes. You can't relax. You can't let your guard down. You have to have strong concentration. You have to have discipline - all of the things that go into winning."
Noah said it's more than a matter of two teams who don't like each other. It's much deeper than that.
"It's not not liking them. Who cares if you like somebody or don't like somebody?" Noah said. "It's two teams that want to win."
Thibodeau said his players were distracted by calls that didn't go their way.
"If you have a point to make to an official, there's an appropriate time to that and it's during a deadball," he said.
Thibodeau tried to get the attention of referee Scott Foster at halftime.
"I don't want to put it on the officials," Thibodeau said. "In an NBA playoff game, there are going to be calls that can go either way. If it doesn't go your way, you can't allow it to impact your next play. You can't allow it to get you sidetracked so you don't do your job. You have to have the ability to do your job all the time. You have to have great concentration.
"If you're thinking about them (referees), you're not thinking about what you need to be thinking about. I don't want to put it on the officials. We have to play a lot better."
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