May 8, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) is seen leaving the game as a fan reacts during the fourth quarter in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bulls/Miami Heat rivalry is now slowly developing into an old school, bad blood, classic playoff matchup. Gone are the days of playoff basketball fueled by pure hatred, fights, and numerous physical altercations, but the Bulls/Heat series have given us a small sample-sized flashback of what NBA playoff basketball was like in the 1980’s and 90’s.
In the Bulls’ game 2 blowout loss on Wednesday night, a female fan was seen thrusting her middle finger in the face of Joakim Noah as he was on his way to the locker room after being ejected. This came in a game where a total of nine technical fouls were called and two ejections were made.
Of course, the Bulls are already a tough, physical, grind it out team, and have been since Tom Thibodeau took over as head coach. Their win this season over the Heat that snapped their 27 game winning streak helped spark tensions between the two teams when Lebron James said a couple of hard fouls committed by Chicago were not “basketball plays”.
James singled out two plays in the late March game, fouls committed by Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson.
“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say [what I want to say],” James said. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not defensive & those are not basketball plays.”
You make the call:
Aside from the bad blood between the players, the actions of this one Heat fan will elevate the tension of series to another level as the series shifts to Chicago. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has identified the fan who gave Noah the middle finger as Filomena Tobias, the widow of former CNBC commentator and hedge fund manager Seth Tobias.
It’s refreshing to see a playoff series thats turning back the clock.