Miami Heat's LeBron James remains confident the NBA referees will clamp down on the hard fouls that have plagued his side's series against the Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN.
The reigning MVP has been locked in a running battle with Bulls' forward Joakim Noah, with the Chicago star and his teammate Taj Gibson thrown out of Game Two with 10 minutes to play.
The physical encounter ended in a blowout 115-78 win for the Heat - the largest margin of victory in the franchise's history. The win levelled the series at 1-1, but it was a gruelling encounter containing 51 fouls, 60 free throw attempts, nine technical fouls and a flagrant one.
"I understand the refs are going to try to control the game as much as possible, so you have to adjust to it," James told ESPN on Thursday. "We know definitely this is going to be physical and we look forward to it.
"It's a rivalry with this [Bulls] team. They don't like us. We don't like them. That's how it is."
The Heat, looking to defend their NBA title, travel to Chicago for Game Three on Friday. The Bulls, missing a number of star players including Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, play an aggressive defence, and at times Game Two got of hand.
But it wasn't just the Bulls - Heat forward Udonis Haslem was called up for a hard foul with minutes of the tip-off.
"We have to carry that same aggression, that same attitude to Game Three and Game Four (Monday) that we took in Game Two," James continued.
The MVP chalked up 19 points - all in the first half - and nine assists in Game Two.
"They're back in their own building, and we have to be ready for it."