Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving kept hitting buzzer-beaters, LeBron James posted his first tripe-double of the season and the Cavaliers all but wrapped up the Central Division with a 99-94 victory over the Bulls on Sunday.
James filled the stat sheet with 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as the Cavs, winners of 18 straight at home, pulled four games ahead of the second- place Bulls with five to play.
Smith made half of Cleveland's 16 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, while Irving added 27 points, including a miraculous shot during a pivotal run in the third quarter.
Mike Dunleavy led Chicago with 24 points, while Aaron Brooks and Jimmy Butler added 17 and 16, respectively, in the team's second loss in three games.
"We gave them some easy baskets," Butler said. "We didn't execute the way we wanted to."
Among Cleveland's 10 3-pointers in the first half were impressive buzzer- beaters by Irving and Smith, whose 35 combined points carried the hosts to a 54-45 lead entering the break.
Irving ended the opening frame with a 3 from the corner despite two defenders being draped all over him, and Smith capped the half with a runner from halfcourt while falling out-of-bounds.
Those baskets somehow paled in comparison to a prayer Irving threw up late in the third quarter. The star guard, at first unaware of the shot clock nearing zero, launched one from beyond halfcourt -- estimated at 52 feet -- and hit nothing but net.
"I've never seen three (shots) like that in one game," Cavs head coach David Blatt said. "That's the great thing about this game. Every day you wake up, something new can happen and it did today."
The improbable heave was part of a 10-0 run that stretched Cleveland's lead to 75-60.
Chicago trimmed its deficit to 79-71 heading to the fourth and were within five, 92-87, following a Butler layup with just over three minutes to play. Two of the next three Bulls' possession, however, ended in turnovers and the other was a missed 3-pointer from Nikola Mirotic.
Kevin Love's 3-pointer gave Cleveland a 96-87 cushion, and the Cavs held on over the final minute.
The Cavs are 15-0 when they make at least 14 3-pointers ... Cleveland earned its 50th win for the eighth time in franchise history ... James was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul for sending Mirotic to the ground with a shoulder shove midway through the second quarter ... Love, who sat out Cleveland's win against the Heat on Thursday due to a back injury, played 31 minutes and finished with 11 points and four rebounds ... The Bulls have dropped eight of their last 10 road assignments ... Chicago's Pau Gasol recorded 12 points on 13 shots and fell one rebound shy of his 51st double-double.