|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson said Thursday that he was surprised LeBron James complained the previous night about hard fouls committed during the Bulls' 101-97 victory that snapped the Miami Heat's win streak at 27.
"I think he's too good of a player to do that," Gibson said on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN 1000.
"You just play, two teams really going out there and play hard, going to the basket extremely hard and physical."
James mentioned fouls by Gibson and Kirk Hinrich as not being "basketball plays." Neither was called for a flagrant. James said Gibson collared him on a drive to the basket with 4:01 left in the fourth quarter.
"I didn't try to collar him," Gibson said. "I just fouled him. It wasn't intentionally.
"I just tried to make a play on the ball, but I fouled him. When he fell, it looked like I collared him. I was really trying to grab him, just not hold him up. Nobody was intentionally trying to hurt anybody out there. When he said those comments, I was really shocked. But it's part of the game, I guess."
James singled out Gibson and Hinrich, who wrapped him up on a drive to the basket in the first quarter.
"Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say [what I want to say]," James said after the game. "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."
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, speaking on WEEI Radio on Thursday, disagreed.
"I think the referees got the calls right. I don't think it was a hard foul," Ainge said. "I think the one involving LeBron against Carlos Boozer [in which LeBron lowered his shoulder into the Bulls' forward 10 seconds after Gibson's foul), that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right.
"I think that it's almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating."
Gibson said the nature of the rivalry almost ensures a physical game.
"Every game we played them was a physical game," Gibson said. "You're going to know things are like that; tough, hard fouls are going to be called. You just can't expect the games to be so lightly taken after you just blew us out by 20 the last time we played you guys."
The Heat routed the Bulls 86-67 on Feb. 21 at the United Center, and Gibson said the Bulls didn't want a repeat performance.
"We just went out and played our normal style of basketball. We just got back to the basics," he said. "We're normally a real dominant rebounding team. We tried to help each other on defense. One thing we just did is just played a little bit harder.
"They really embarrassed us the last time we played in Chicago. And we really didn't like how they celebrated. So we just came out, put forth more effort and guys stepped up."
And as far as the fouls, Gibson said that goes both ways.
"Carlos was getting hit the same way all night," Gibson said. "We have to guard them and do our jobs. Me and Kirk, what he said about us, it was crazy. Kirk wrapped him up, first off. He was trying to make a play on the ball. He wrapped him up to not try to hurt him intentionally, so he won't get an easy layup. He's a dominant player. You just try to slow him down. We're not trying to intentionally hurt him."
The teams play again April 14 in Miami.