Sports

LeBron, Cavs try to salvage Game 2 vs. Bulls

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to salvage a game in their own building Wednesday night when they host the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Bulls stole Game 1, 99-92, Monday night as the Cavs try to make up for the loss of Kevin Love, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs after shoulder surgery, and J.R. Smith, who was suspended the first two games of this series.

"No excuses," Cleveland coach David Blatt said. "We just didn't start well enough and we didn't play well enough to win that game."

Chicago blew a 16-point, first-half lead, but All-Star Jimmy Butler made sure they didn't blow another one. The Bulls used a 15-0 run in the third quarter to build another healthy cushion.

Cleveland charged back and trimmed the deficit to two in the fourth quarter with 5:21 left. Butler, though, split a pair of free throws and nailed a 3- pointer before Pau Gasol's jumper gave the Bulls a 94-86 lead with 3:26 to go.

The Cavs never got closer than four the rest of the way. Butler scored seven of Chicago's last 11 points.

"You can never let your guard down," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They can score points in a hurry."

Derrick Rose had 25 points and five assists, while Butler added 20 points and six helpers.

Chicago received a minor scare late in the game when Rose began to grab his shoulder, but he never left the contest.

"It was a stinger and it went away within five to 10 minutes," he said.

Gasol netted 15 of his 21 points in the second half to go with 10 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy supplied 14 points and seven boards for third-seeded Chicago, which was 10-of-18 from beyond the arc.

Kyrie Irving posted 30 points and six assists, while Smith's replacement, Iman Shumpert, provided 22 points for the second-seeded Cavs, who swept the Celtics in the East quarterfinals.

LeBron James tallied 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, but was held to just 9-of-22 shooting by Butler and committed six of Cleveland's nine turnovers.

James had been 12-3 in his career against the Bulls in the postseason.

Chicago connected on five of its first six 3-pointers, with Dunleavy knocking down three of them as it raced out to a 21-7 lead.

Dunleavy began 5-of-5 from the field and scored 13 points in an opening frame where the Bulls led 27-15.

"It's Mike moving without the ball, opening up the floor," Thibodeau said of Dunleavy. "He never stops moving."

Cleveland, which never led in the contest, tied it at 53-53 on an Irving driving layup. Chicago, however, pulled away again with its 15-0 flurry.

"Just a great run on our end," Gasol said. "Got the stops and got the rebounds, we made plays."

Game 3 will be Friday night in Chicago.