The Bulls' series with the Atlanta Hawks is predictably getting more contentious, with tempers flaring between the Bulls' Carlos Boozer and the Hawks' Josh Smith in Game 5 at the United Center.
It figures to get even more chippy in Game 6 tonight. But both Boozer and Smith say they do not expect any repercussions of the previous incident, which was instigated by Boozer's shot to the face of Smith after Smith scored on a dunk.
''I'm just trying to win a game. He's a non-factor to me, from a mental standpoint,'' Smith said. ''I'm just trying to win.''
''I don't think there will be a carry-over effect at all,'' Hawks coach Larry Drew said. ''Josh is professional enough to know he has to do that. All that does, if there is a carry-over, is it plays right into their hands and takes him out of his game, which I'm sure is what they want to do.
''It's in the past. It happened. Time to move on. The focus has to be Game 6 and for [Smith] to do everything humanly possible to put us in a position to win.''
''There's something precious at stake. So guys are going to scratch and claw and do whatever they can win the series. It's probably going to be a little more intense tonight.''
Smith, who is averaging 17 points and 10.5 rebounds a game since Game 1 (when he scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds), said it's just a part of playoff basketball.
''There's something precious at stake, so guys are going to scratch and claw and do whatever they can to win the series,'' he said. ''It's probably going to be a little more intense tonight.''