“Going three months without any adversity is just something that we’re not used to,” Wade said. “I think this is our first of the season. Losing Game 1 was tough and we had to go back and look ourselves in the mirror and look each other in the eye and say, ‘What are we here for?’”
Udonis Haslem answered that question early, putting everyone on notice on the first play of the game.
Robinson drove to the basket down a wide-open lane on the Bulls’ first possession but Haslem swung over from the weak side and met Robinson in the air. Haslem clobbered the diminutive guard, sending him flying to the baseline. Robinson remained on the ground for a few moments before shaking off the hit and making 1 of 2 free throws.
From there, it only became more physical.
“You got to get in the fight,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You’re going to get hit….so that has to be corrected. We have to have more fight and determination.”
There were 28 personal fouls called in the first half, including 22 in the game’s first 17 minutes. The game ended with 51 personal fouls (27 by the Bulls).
In addition to all the hacking and incessant whistle blowing, there were plenty of extracurricular dustups to keep the referees busy.
Officials handed out five technical fouls in the first half in addition to a flagrant foul issued to Chris Andersen for body checking Belinelli.
“I don’t think it was necessarily out of hand, physically,” Spoelstra said. “I think it was emotionally out of hand. It was clean. I don’t think he emotions at the end had anything to do with the physicality.”
For the Bulls, Marquis Teague and Nate Robinson were also hit with technical fouls. Wade and James received technical fouls in first half and Chalmers was called for a technical foul in the third quarter. Belinelli had 13 points to lead the Bulls, who were once again without Loul Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose.
“It’s a Chicago-Miami series, two teams that hang their hat on playing well defensively,” Wade said.