James hits jumper at buzzer, lifts Cavaliers over Bulls

LeBron James hit a jump shot from the corner at the final buzzer to give the Cleveland Cavaliers an 86-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, leveling the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.

James finished with 25 points to help the Cavaliers win in another wild finish, returning the favor after Chicago took Game 3 on Derrick Rose’s banked 3-pointer at the buzzer.

This time, James got whistled for an offensive foul when he elbowed Mike Dunleavy Jr. That led to a tying layup for Rose with 9.4 seconds left.

“I was supposed to take the ball out,” James said. “I told Coach there was no way I’m taking the ball out unless I could shoot it over the backboard and go in. So I told him, Have somebody else take the ball out.’ The play that was drawn up, I scratched it. I just told Coach, Just give me the ball. We’re either going to go into overtime or I’m going to win it for us’.”

James , playing the final quarter on a sprained left ankle, ended it with the jumper from the corner over Jimmy Butler. Game 5 is on Tuesday in Cleveland.

James committed eight turnovers and struggled again from the field, hitting 10 of 30 shots. He is 18 of 55 the past two games. But he also had 14 rebounds and eight assists.

Kyrie Irving, playing with a sore foot, was 2 of 12 and had 12 points and two assists.

Timofey Mozgov had 15 points and nine rebounds. J.R. Smith came on strong down the stretch, scoring all but two of his 13 in the fourth quarter.

Rose scored 31 points and Jimmy Butler added 19 for Chicago, which was playing without Pau Gasol. He sat out with a strained left hamstring, and his status for Game 5 is in question.

In Sunday’s other playoff, DeAndre Jordan scored 26 points, surviving Houston’s intentional-foul fest in the first half as the Los Angeles Clippers took a 3-1 series lead to put the Rockets on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference semifinals.

Jordan made 14 of 34 free throws, attempting an NBA playoff-record 28 in the first half, and had 17 rebounds. Blake Griffin added 21 points, J.J. Redick had 18 points and Chris Paul finished with 15 points and 12 assists in the Clippers’ second straight blowout win in the best-of-7 series.

They can advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history with a victory in Game 5 Tuesday night in Houston.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN