Maybe because Taj Gibson knew it was coming, it lessened the blow.
The league announced Friday that the reserve big man was levied with a $25,000 fine for verbally abusing referee Scott Foster as he was ejected in the fourth quarter of the Bulls’ Game 2 loss Wednesday in Miami.
“I wasn’t surprised. I was waiting for the verdict, but I knew I was going to get hit. I was just hoping it wasn’t a suspension. But I deserved it,” he said before Friday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. “I didn’t know what to expect. I heard half and half because I talked to Randy Brown [the former Bulls guard and current assistant to the general manager] and to Gar [Forman, the Bulls’ general manager]. We didn’t really understand. Then when the NBA security called me in the AM and was talking to the court, I knew it could probably be a suspension. But I’m glad it wasn’t.”
Gibson explained how his interaction with NBA officials went.
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“I kept it straight truth. I told them I overreacted. I could’ve handled it a little better. But the whole thing was mostly about how long I was on the court,” he said, in reference to the league’s policy against players not leaving the court in a timely fashion after being ejected from a game. “I’m a really honest person so I just told the truth. I told them how I felt, what my emotions were. They understood everything. They understood I never really have any negative problems with officials. They read my postgame [comments]. I just told them it was frustration, and I could take the blame.”
Quipped Gibson, who signed a long-term contract with the Bulls at the beginning of the regular season, “I’ve got a charity cup going around. But good thing I got that extension at the right time.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau declined to make a specific comment about the fine before Game 3, but did discuss how the Bulls would need to do a better job of keeping their emotions in check after being hit with six technical fouls Wednesday, including the back-to-back ejections of Gibson and All-Star center Joakim Noah.
“Just be ready. Whether you win or lose, you analyze what happened, make your corrections, get ready for the next one. Ball goes up, we’ve got to do a lot better,” the coach said. “You can’t get wrapped up in the wrong stuff, so we have to play, we know what we have to do. We know what happened in that game and we’ve got to handle it better. We’ve just got to be ready to go. Ball in the air. It’s just going to be about our determination, our will. I thought Game 1, we imposed our will. Game 2, they imposed their will. We can’t get wrapped up with the officials, we can’t allow it to affect the next play. We’ve got to be ready to roll.”