The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls, 86-84, in Game 4 of their second-round NBA playoff series on May 10 behind LeBron James' buzzer-beating jump shot from the corner on May 10.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are not allowing the Chicago Bulls to get the better of them in terms of buzzer-beaters.
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Cavaliers forward LeBron James nailed a 22-foot jumper from the corner as time expired to lift his team to an 86-84 win in Game 4 of the second-round playoff series at the United Center on May 10. The series is now tied at two games apiece, per Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Haynes says "there was dead slience" at the Bulls' United Center when James drilled the jumper at the buzzer.
James' shot made up for his earlier turnover that allowed Chicago point guard Derrick Rose to tie the score at 84-all. In the Cavaliers' final possession, James drove the lane and appeared to have collided with Bulls center Joakim Noah as the ball went out of bounds, per Haynes.
With just 1.4 seconds left on the gameclock, Cleveland guard Matthew Dellevedova inbounded the ball from the baseline and found a streaking James in the right corner. He went up for a shot just inside the three-point arc over the outstretched hand of 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Jimmy Butler that found its mark as time expired, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau told K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune he gives credit to James for making a great play:
"We had size on the ball. I thought Jimmy was right there. He created some space and got the shot off.
"He also has the ability to tip. And that's why we put size on him. I wanted to make it hard to throw to him. We were actually in direct line with him. He broke to the corner. He made a great play.
"That's what great players do. Derrick (Rose) made a great play the other night. LeBron made one (Sunday)."
The Bulls beat the Cavaliers, 99-96, on Rose's three-pointer at the buzzer in Game 3 at the United Center two days earlier, per The New York Times' Andrew Keh.
Clevleand came back from a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit to even the series heading back to Quicken Loans Arena on May 13. James finished with 25 points, but shot just 10-of-30 from the field, says Haynes.
It was mid-season acquisition J.R. Smith who orchestrated a Cavaliers comeback in the fourth quarter. Haynes says Smith hit three triples and scored 11 of his 13 points during that span.
Haynes says the Cavaliers led, 49-45, at halftime but went scorless during an eight-minute stretch in the third quarter to fall behind, 68-61, heading into the final quarter. The Bulls did not fare any better for the whole game, as they shot just 32-of-89 from the floor for a 36 percent clip.
The Cavaliers' third-quarter drought was the opposite of what transpired during the second quarter, when the Bulls missed 13 consecutive shots and didn't score a point for almost seven minutes, per Johnson.
The Bulls' offensive woes continued at the start of the fourth quarter, when they scored just two points during the first 5:39 of the frame, per The Chicago Tribune.
Chicago forward Mike Dunleavy, Jr., who finished wth just four points, told Johnson at the end of the game his team's inconsistency on the offensive end ultimately did them in:
"We just can't step on people's throats. For whatever reason, we have too many stagnant offensive possessions. It's kind of been our Achilles' heel on the offensive end. It's not surprising. Nothing comes easy for us."
Cleveland survived a scare in the third period when James appeared to have sustained a left-ankle injury on a fastbreak attempt against Rose, who drew the charge. James was on the court in pain for a few seconds before he went to his bench unassisted, per Haynes.
Rose led all scorers with 31 points. His counterpart, Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, has a sore right foot and finished with 12 points. He shot just 2-of-10 from the field, per The Northeast Ohio Media Group. Butler added 19 points for Chicago.
Bulls power forward Taj Gibson started in the place of the injured Pau Gasol, who has a right hamstring strain. Gasol might also sit out Game 5, per Haynes.
Despite the loss, Chicago center Joakim Noah remains unfazed when he spoke with Johnson:
"We're fine. They hit a tough shot at the end. Move on from it. We're disappointed that we didnt' get the win. We can win in Cleveland. We've done it before. It's going to be great."
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