MIAMI – For the first time in these playoffs, the Miami Heat were facing some real adversity.
They responded with a technical knockout.
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.”
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.
Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were ejected in the fourth quarter for Chicago. 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.
“I don’t know how many techs we got. ... I would call that not keeping your cool, not being very Zen,” Noah said.
The Heat had three technicals assessed, a season high for them.
Norris Cole scored 18 points for Miami, which got 15 from Dwyane Wade and 13 from Chris Bosh. The Heat led 42-38 with 3:42 left in the first half, before an absurd 62-20 run. Yes, 62-20.
Miami shot 60 percent to Chicago’s 36, outrebounded the Bulls 41-28, and enjoyed huge edges in points off turnovers (28-7) and fast-break points (20-2).
In the fourth, with the game already lost, the Bulls lost what was left of their composure.
Noah got ejected with 10:13 left, and while that mess was being sorted out, Gibson got two more technicals and joined his teammate in the visiting locker room.
TNT announcer Steve Kerr, a former Bulls player, questioned the officiating at that point.
“I don’t blame Gibson,” Kerr said as Gibson left the court, television cameras catching him direct a stream of what appeared to be profanities toward either referees, players or both.
“We got sidetracked and you can’t do that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We allowed frustration to carry over to the next play. ... You come in here, you’re not going to get calls. That’s reality.”
Marco Belinelli scored 13 for the Bulls, who got 12 from Noah and 11 from Nate Robinson.