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updated: 5/19/2011 9:37 AM

Bulls' Gibson has forged friendship with Heat's James

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  • Taj Gibson, of the Bulls, middle, gets sandwiched between Udonis Haslem, left, and Joel Anthony of the heat during game two of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at the United Center Wednesday.

      Taj Gibson, of the Bulls, middle, gets sandwiched between Udonis Haslem, left, and Joel Anthony of the heat during game two of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at the United Center Wednesday.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Game 1 hero Taj Gibson revealed last year that he became close with LeBron James during his college years when James would work out in the summers at USC.

Through James' move from Cleveland to Miami and a second straight playoff matchup against the Bulls, Gibson said the friendship has stayed intact.

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"It's been stable. I say what's up to him when I can," Gibson said. "It's all about playoff basketball right now. It's all about us as a team shutting everybody else out. There's no friends."

Gibson didn't really say much to James during last summer's free-agent pursuit, either.

"When you're in the NBA, you tend to be a lot busier in life than you think you would be," Gibson said. "I was just focused on getting ready for Thibs (Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau) and getting ready to make a late playoff run. I just say hi when I see him, ask him questions, but it's all basketball stuff."

Gibson says he did try to stick up for James in the aftermath of the poorly received television special.

"He just made a decision. That's his decision," Gibson said. "He's a good guy."

Rare late runaway:

The Bulls' runaway victory in Game 1 marked just the third time in the last 40 years of NBA playoffs that a team won by more than 20 points after not leading at halftime, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The Bulls and Heat were tied 48-48 at halftime before the Bulls won the second half 55-34.

The other two instances were Philadelphia against the L.A. Lakers in Game 5 of the 1982 Finals and Carlos Boozer's Utah Jazz over San Antonio in Game 3 of the 2007 Western Conference finals.

James enjoys Cavs win:

At Miami's shootaround, LeBron James said he was happy for Cleveland, which won the NBA's draft lottery Tuesday and favored the selection Duke point Kyrie Irving.

"If the Cavs pick him it'll be a great pick for them," James said, according to espn.com. "He's a true point guard who can score, in this day and age in the NBA it is a point guards' league. If they decided to take him, which it looks like, they'll have a good one."

Deng connects:

Luol Deng finished the first quarter with a 3-point basket from beyond half-court, giving the Bulls a 26-19 advantage. LeBron James was in position to challenge Deng' shot, but just walked away. After the shot went in, James had an agitated conversation with Juwan Howard, the next-closest Miami defender.

Foul situation:

The referees called 28 fouls in the first half of Game 2 -- 14 on each team. In Game 1, there were 28 fouls in the entire game.

Derrick Rose left the floor with 3:11 left in the first quarter with 2 fouls. Miami centers Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire had 2 fouls each less than eight minutes into the contest.

Game 2 ended with 51 fouls, 26 on Miami and 25 on the Bulls, who missed 10 free throws.

Bull horns:

Keith Bogans shot his first free throws of the playoffs at the 5:27 mark of the first quarter, but missed both shots. ... During the first quarter, a fan was led away from the courtside seats in plastic handcuffs. ... The post-Oprah Winfrey celebrity count included mostly sports stars and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Julius Peppers, ex-Bear Matt Suhey, Sky center Sylvia Fowles and presumed No. 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving were among those on hand.

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