NBA fines Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for comments about referees after loss to Heat
The NBA announced Sunday that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been fined $35,000 for comments about the officiating following Chicago’s 104-94 loss to the Heat in Game 3 on Friday night.
After Chicago went down 2-1 in the series, Thibodeau suggested that the Heat have been receiving favorable treatment from the officials.
“When you play this team you have to have a lot of mental, physical and emotional toughness,” he said. “Things aren’t going to go your way. That’s the way it is. You’re not going to get calls. That’s reality. We still have to find a way to get it done and we can.”
Chicago took four more free throws than Miami in Game 1 (29-25), but Miami took eight more than Chicago in Game 2 (29-21) and five more (30-25) in Game 3.
“Watching how things are going, I see how things are going,” Thibodeau said cryptically. “I watch very closely. I watch very closely. What I’m seeing is… we’ll adjust accordingly.”
Physical play, technical fouls and flagrant fouls marked both Games 2 and 3. In Game 2, both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were ejected for disputing calls. In Game 3, Nazr Mohammed was ejected for shoving LeBron James to the court. Thibodeau took direct issue with Mohammed’s ejection, suggesting that James embellished the contact and that the veteran Bulls center should have been allowed to remain in the game.
“From my angle, I just saw a guy, basically, flop,” Thibodeau said. “I’m going to leave it at that. … I didn’t think it warranted an ejection. I understand a flagrant foul. I understand that. But an ejection, no, no, nope.”
Finally, Thibodeau also questioned some of the calls on Jimmy Butler, who has spent significant time guarding James and was whistled for five personal fouls in Game 3.
“Jimmy has great demeanor a lot of toughness, great body position guy,” he said. “Great body position guy. I’m watching him play defense and I’m looking at some of the things that are being called and I’m like…”
The Bulls coach then made a confused face and allowed the words to hang in the air.
Gibson was fined $25,000 on Friday for directing profanity at the officials during his Game 2 ejection.