The storyline following Monday's victory over New York was how Derrick Rose stopped being a nice guy for once and actually complained about a lack of foul calls.
By athletic standards, Rose's tirade was pretty soft. But the NBA felt his criticism of officials was harsh enough to merit a $25,000 fine.
Contact information ( * required )
In general, Rose just griped out the lack of calls on his drives to the basket. His strongest line was, "I've got to be the only superstar in the league who's going through what I'm going through right now, but I can't say too much about it."
Rose didn't speak to reporters when the Bulls practiced Tuesday at the Berto Center. But the subject of foul calls and free-throw attempts couldn't be more relevant with the Miami Heat heading into town for its first United Center appearance of the season on Wednesday.
Last year during the Eastern Conference finals against Miami, Rose shot 32 free throws during the five-game series.
All three of Miami's stars shot more -- LeBron James attempted 44 free throws, while Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh went to the line 35 times each.
A common line when it comes to free-throw differential is the more aggressive team usually gets more calls. No player in the NBA is more aggressive than Rose as far as driving to the basket, though, so why does he rank 13th in the league in free-throw attempts at 6.4 per game?
"He's a hard guy to officiate," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Sometimes because of his speed and power, you don't recognize when he is being hit.
"Usually, he'll play through things and he won't say very much. But he was frustrated (Monday), so he made his point."
Here's another issue to consider -- while Rose is generally respectful to referees, few teams complain more about foul calls than Miami, particularly James and Wade.
Maybe there's an advantage to being a squeaky wheel. The five-game loss in the conference finals can generally be chalked up to the Bulls failing to capitalize on late-game opportunities, while Miami knocked down more clutch shots.
But free throws also made a difference. In Games 4 and 5, when the Bulls had a chance to take control of the series, they were outscored by 3 points during regulation time, while Miami shot 26 more free throws. Game 4 was settled in overtime.
Thibodeau was asked Tuesday if Rose needs to find a way to walk the fine line between respect for referees and necessary complaints.
"I think it comes with experience," Thibodeau said. "I think he's developing relationships. He's very respectful about making his points. I don't think he's ever at a point where he shows somebody up. When he has something to say, he says it."
Showing up the referees doesn't seem to be a concern for James. So where exactly is that imaginary line?
"I'll leave that to you guys," Thibodeau said with a laugh.