The Heat will host the Bulls on Sunday, in what will be the NBA’s lone nationally televised contest of the day. It’s a revenge game for Miami of sorts, after the Bulls snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak in Chicago back on March 27.
It isn’t known at this point whether the Heat, who have rested LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and others at various times over the past week or so, will even bother to be at full strength. But if Miami does play all of its starters, count James among those that will be looking forward to the challenge.
After the two teams met in Chicago, LeBron got plenty of attention for remarks he made afterward about the physical nature of the way the Bulls defended him. The league even issued a retroactive upgrade to one of the fouls the Bulls committed on James, likely based on those comments.
LeBron has changed his tune, however, in advance of the rematch on Sunday.
LeBron James not worried about facing Bulls on Sunday after he complained last month about their physical play.
“I expect nothing less than physical,’’ James said. “Everything the whole game will be physical. If it’s guided toward me, if it’s guided toward everyone, I look forward to it.’’
And that’s the right response.
The Bulls, along with every other team in the Heat’s postseason path, were likely salivating over the fact that James seemed affected by Chicago’s hard fouls and physical defense in the last meeting between the two teams. The last thing that a seemingly invincible player like James wants to do is show any sign of weakness to his opponents, or reveal something another team did that ended up getting under his skin.
Actions speak louder than words, of course, so we’ll see how Sunday’s game plays out. If the Bulls are once again overtly physical with James, and the referees allow it, he’d be wise to not mention it again, no matter the end result.