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Inadvertent whistle comes at bad time for Bulls

LeBrJames is all smiles after emerging victorious.  |  Mike Ehrmann~Getty Images

LeBron James is all smiles after emerging victorious. | Mike Ehrmann~Getty Images

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Updated: March 1, 2012 8:39AM

MIAMI — Players and reporters were asking the same question after the Heat defeated the Bulls 97-93 on Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena: What happened on the play that ended with an inadvertent whistle?

“I’m just going to leave it alone,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked for his opinion of the play. “I’m not going to say anything. All you have to do is look at the tape.”

The ball went out of bounds on the baseline with 16.8 seconds left and the Bulls trailing by one. It appeared Dwyane Wade was out of bounds when he tried to save it, but replays were inconclusive. Players were standing around, waiting for the call before officials ruled there had been an inadvertent whistle and sent Taj Gibson and LeBron James to the circle for a jump ball.

“We thought we had the ball, but they said it was an inadvertent whistle,” Gibson said. “I thought Dwyane was going to jump it up, but they said anyone can jump. It’s one of those plays. I thought we had possession. Either way, he was out of bounds. We’ll look at the film later but it was a tough play. It was tough because we gave ourselves a chance to win it late.”

James tipped the ball to Mario Chalmers, who was immediately fouled by Ronnie Brewer. Chalmers made one of two free throws to put the Heat up by two.

“It was a tough call for both teams, it really was,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s why you have to play everything out to the end of the possession.”

Several times during the game, it sounded as if a fan was blowing a whistle.

“I thought it was a whistle in the crowd,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said. “That was a bad sequence. Things like that happen in a basketball game but it’s unfortunate it happened in such an important moment in the game. Dwyane Wade is clearly out of bounds on the play at the end. For them to get the possession back in that situation is tough. It happens. We had our opportunities. No

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