DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Say what you want about the Chicago Bulls' physical nature against the Miami Heat, but coach Tom Thibodeau was stern Friday in saying his team isn't alone when it comes to a bruising style of play.
Talking after his team's shootaround in preparation for Game 3 later Friday, Thibodeau wondered why his team was the only one being referenced when it came to rough tendencies.
"The thing I find humorous is the fact people paint us to be the physical team," Thibodeau said. "You look at what happened at the start of the (Game 2), and that's usually what happens. You look at the games in which we've won against them, the next game they come back and guys are flying all over the place.
"This isn't a one-way street. This is a two-way street. We know how it's going to be called. We can't allow that to impact us in any way, shape or form. Just get out there and get the job done. That's what we have to do."
In the early going of Game 2 at Miami, the Heat seemed determined to set their own tone. After a foul, Dwyane Wade threw the ball at the Bulls' Marco Belinelli. Nate Robinson was also knocked to the ground by Udonis Haslem on the first possession.
There were nine technical fouls, two ejections and 51 personal fouls by the time the game had ended, so it wasn't surprising to see that the NBA assigned hard-nosed referee Joey Crawford to call Game 3 in Chicago.
Thibodeau was asked if he expects the game to be called closely, a development which could hamper his Bulls team. The great neutralizer for the Bulls, who are outclassed in sheer talent by the Heat, is the ability to use a rougher style to level the playing field.
"Here's the thing, every game will be called a certain way," Thibodeau said. "Some are called tighter than others and you have to adjust accordingly. But you can't allow that to take away from the things you have to do. We have to stay disciplined. We can't overreact. We can't under-react. We just have to remain focused.
"Everyone has to do their job, lock in and put all the things that go into winning, put that at the forefront. Hustle plays. Toughness plays. If the ball is in the air, get in the fight. You're going to get hit. This is the playoffs. This is it, OK. This is about will. This is about determination. This is about getting the job done."
It was as if Thibodeau was giving a peek inside the locker room during his pregame speech.
How the game will be officiated could be evident as early as the first minute. It took only a minute into Game 2 to see that the Heat had an edge that day. So was that first minute of Game 2 handled to Thibodeau's liking?
"You know what, that's in the past," he said. "There are a lot of judgments that can go either way. I don't want to put it on the officials; that's not what I'm doing. We have to do better. We know what we have to do."