Bulls forward Taj Gibson was ejected from Game 5 on Tuesday after kicking Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova while he was on the ground.
The foul, which sparked a baseline brouhaha between the two teams, occurred as Cleveland held a 83-73 lead with 10:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Gibson pushed Dellavedova to the court as the two players positioned themselves for a possible rebound in the paint. While on the ground face-down, Dellavedova locked up Gibson's legs between his legs. Gibson then swung his leg free of Dellavedova's grasp before intentionally kicking Dellavedova as he continued to lay on the court.
The kick led to an extended pushing match between multiple members of both teams. Gibson, who started in place of Pau Gasol, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, departed with 10 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes.
Gibson was assessed a flagrant foul 2, a designation that applies to contact that is deemed “unnecessary and excessive” and which requires an automatic ejection. The NBA league office will review the play, as it does with all flagrant fouls, to determine whether Gibson will be hit with an additional fine and/or suspension.
Dellavedova escaped punishment on the play.
Cleveland went on a 7-0 run after the foul and held on down the stretch to take a 3-2 series lead. LeBron James led all scorers with 38 points and he added 12 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and three steals in the win. Kyrie Irving chipped in 25 points and five assists.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 29 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a losing effort. Derrick Rose added 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Game 6 is set for the United Center on Thursday.