The Joe Crawford show took place at the United Center on Friday with the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat appearing as VIP guests. After the physical play in game 2 on Wednesday, the NBA placed the veteran Crawford as the head referee in the game between the two teams on Friday. Despite the fact that Crawford was the referee, the Bulls still needed to play physical with the Heat on Friday.
The Bulls were once again without Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng on Friday. Internet rumors that suggested Derrick Rose would be in uniform on Friday proved to be wrong as Rose was once again out.
After the teams spent most of the first quarter going back and forth, there was finally an altercation between Joakim Noah and Chris Anderson towards the end of the quarter. Anderson fouled Nate Robinson on a layup attempt and the two proceeded to fall down; as Anderson was getting back up, Noah gave the Heat forward a slight push. Noah was dealt a technical foul as a result of his actions. Nonetheless, after the first quarter, the teams were tied at 25. Carlos Boozer had 10 points for the Bulls in the quarter.
In the second quarter, the physicality between the two teams once again escalated. As LeBron James was bringing the ball up court, Nazr Mohammed proceeded with a hard foul on James. James responded by brushing Mohammed off; Mohammed recovered and then shoved James to the floor. The result of the altercation was a technical foul on James and a technical foul on Mohammed, who was ejected from the game. The close play continued between the Heat and Bulls as the Heat had 52-50 lead over the Bulls at halftime.
With the first half concluded, the Bulls were successfully implementing the gameplan that the team was striving for in game 2. In the first half of Friday’s game, the Bulls were playing physical with the Heat but also taking advantage of the offensive opportunities as they surfaced. The Bulls would need to continue this effort in the second half if the team wanted to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
The third quarter brought no separation between the two teams. In fact the two teams got closer. The Bulls’ outscored the Heat 20-18 in the third quarter and that was enough to tie the game at 70 entering the fourth quarter.
As the Bulls entered the fourth quarter, the Bulls had a concern with shooting guard Marco Belinelli. Belinelli had 13 points for the Bulls after three quarters, however also had five fouls as a result of his physical play with LeBron James. In the fourth quarter, Chris Bosh took control of the game both on offense and defense. Bosh Scored 9 points in the fourth quarter for the Heat and finished the game with 20 points and 19 rebounds. The Heat rode the production of Bosh and James–who scored 10 points in the quarter–to secure a 104-94 victory over the Bulls on Friday.
For the Heat, point guard Norris Cole scored 18 points while playing off the bench. Cole was 3-3 from three point range and proved to be a difference in the game for the Heat.
Carlos Boozer was productive for the Bulls as the forward scored 21 points while shooting 10-16 from the field.
The Heat now have a 2-1 series lead and the Chicago Bulls face a must win situation on Monday at the United Center.