by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

Three games in to an increasingly testy and physical second round Playoff series, the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are now playing mind games with each other.

The Bulls are publicly complaining about what they consider to be flopping and acting from LeBron James. This has cost head coach Tom Thibodeau $35,000, which he hopes is a good investment next time the refs blow their whistles.

LeBron and his coach, meanwhile, think the accusations from Chicago are bogus.

Per the AP and Sun-Sentinel:

Miami’s superstar shot down the accusations from the Chicago Bulls, saying they reminded him of the days when some claimed he was overrated and questioned his ability to lead a team to a championship. “It’s kind of the same (as when) I heard people say I was overrated,” he said Sunday. “It’s kind of like the same response.” [...] “I don’t need to flop,” James said. “I play an aggressive game. I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys.”

“I don’t care,” Spoelstra said when the issue of Thibodeau’s comments was broached after his team’s Sunday practice at the University of Illinois-Chicago. “I don’t spend a lot time thinking about what Tom is saying. I don’t. This game, this series, will be decided between those four lines, and no one can deny that.”

The series resumes tonight in the Windy City, with both teams desperate to take care of business in Game 4.

The mental warfare between these two bitter rivals is sure to continue, but as Spoelstra points out, the battle will be won on the court and not through snippy quotes.