Dwyane Wade didn't waste any time in affirming that Game 2 between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat would be as testy as all of the two teams' other meetings this season. He earned a technical foul within the first few seconds of the first quarter after throwing the ball at Marco Belinelli as he stumbled out of bounds.
In all, the contest witnessed nine technicals, 51 personal fouls and two ejections, as Miami would go on to enjoy a blowout 115-78 win—the largest margin of victory in franchise playoff history. But it had to survive a brutal contest to get there, however, as Wade's technical was far from the final salvo.
It was the earliest shot fired in a game that quickly turned into a war.
Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Two hard fouls early in this one -- one by Haslem, the other by Belinelli. Some technicals will follow during the night. DWade picks up 1st.5/8/2013, 11:05:53 PM
Belinelli had taken a hard foul on Wade, preventing a layup. But clearly, the Miami guard took exception, opting to fire the ball back inbounds at Belinelli instead of attempting to get a shot on goal.
Everybody expected Game 2 to feature plenty of rough play, but it would have been reasonable to assume the two teams might wait until some point after the first minute of play to drop the gloves. Apparently, neither squad could wait to get after one another.
Things are going to continue to get ugly in this series, and that's just how the Bulls want it.
After Wade's early tech, LeBron James and Joakim Noah came together, earning a matching pair of technical fouls.
From there, things continued to escalate.
Chris Andersen notched a flagrant foul when he collided with Marco Belinelli on the sideline, sending the Bulls guard sprawling out of bounds. Then Marquis Teague joined the party, picking up a tech less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Nate Robinson got into Norris Cole's face after a baseline layup, then earned his own technical for some salty language that the officials didn't much care for.
K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop
Scott Foster just T'd up Nate Robinson as game went to timeout. That's now 5 technical fouls and a flagrant.5/8/2013, 11:49:53 PM
Things calmed down during the third quarter, largely because the Heat opened up a massive lead that seemed to drain some of the Bulls' fighting spirit. But the chippy play had been going both ways all night, and apparently Miami's big advantage wasn't enough to calm Mario Chalmers.
Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat
Mario Chalmers this entire quarter has been trying to goad Noah into a second technical foul. Instead, Chalmers now gets one of his own.5/9/2013, 12:56:33 AM
With the game no longer in question and frustration boiling over, the Bulls completely lost their composure in the fourth quarter.
Noah earned his second technical from the bench for screaming at referee Scott Foster after a dubious call.
Sam Smith @SamSmithHoops
Noah ejected going at official Scott Foster after Gibson shot seemed goaltended called block. Rose with save grabbing Noah before got worse5/9/2013, 1:12:07 AM
And things got much worse from there, as Taj Gibson erupted shortly thereafter. His tirade earned a pair of quick technical fouls in succession, and his failure to leave the court in a timely manner (along with his profanity-laced outburst toward Foster) will likely warrant review by the league office.
The vitriol didn't remain confined to the players on the court either, as one classy Miami gal saw fit to inform the recently ejected Noah that in her heart, he was still No. 1.
CBS Sports NBA @CBSSportsNBA
You gotta see this photo from the Noah ejection .... (Note: edited for work consumption). HT: @CBSGonzalez http://t.co/arN2XsEZB05/9/2013, 2:21:08 AM
The Bulls have had success against the Heat all season by slowing things down and turning games into physical battles. That strategy paid major dividends when Chicago ended Miami's 27-game winning streak in March and again in Game 1.
The results weren't nearly as positive for Tom Thibodeau's squad in Game 2, though, as the Bulls suffered a thorough beating and clearly relinquished whatever tenuous hold they had on the mental edge in the series.