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Cavaliers buzzer beater evens series

Bulls and Cavaliers tied at 2-2

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By Sam Smith | 5.10.2015 | 5:11 p.m.

LeBron James answered the Bulls with a buzzer beating jumper for an 86-84 victory Sunday. The Cleveland win evened the conference semifinal series at 2-2.

James took an inbounds pass in a tie game with 1.5 seconds left after a James drive went out of bounds off the Bulls. Derrick Rose, who led all scorers with 31 points, had tied the game just before on a driving layup after the Bulls drew an offensive foul on James to get the possession. The Bulls had won Game 3 on a Rose three pointer at the buzzer.

James had 25 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Timofey Mozgov had 15 points and nine rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 19 points for the Bulls while Joakim Noah had eight points and 15 rebounds.

The Bulls got off to a halting start, but closed the first quarter strong to take a 28-25 lead after one with Rose and Butler each scoring nine points. The Bulls were without Pau Gasol, out with a hamstring problem. The Bulls opened the second quarter with a rush highlighted by a Rose-to-Noah pick and roll dunk for a 37-29 lead. But the Bulls then went scoreless for almost six minutes as the Cavs took a 49-45 halftime lead. The Bulls buckled down defensively in the third quarter as the Cavs went more than six minutes without a score while the Bulls got a nice boost from Tony Snell to take a 68-61 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Observations:

1. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler continued to carry the Bulls offense, but the presence of Pau Gasol was missed when the Bulls went cold in the second quarter with no big men in the game to a short jump shot.

2. The Cavs took a page from the series with the Milwaukee Bucks and went to a lot of switching on defense to try to keep the Bulls on the perimeter. It helped in a poor shooting Bulls second quarter.

3. Joakim Noah was finishing strong on pick and roll to the basket playing more center with Pau Gasol out injured; Tony Snell in the second half showed more aggression defending and rebounding and had a big three late in the third to put the Bulls up 11, though Snell was lost on some big late J.R. Smith threes.