The Chicago Bulls had a gameplan when entering their match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers: force Lebron James to shoot jump shots. They were successful.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, however, James didn't mind.
“They were telling me I can’t make jump shots,” James said in a post-game interview. “They asked me to shoot a jumper so I did that. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.”
On the night, James finished with 40 points, 15 of which came in the game’s final quarter as Cleveland bested Chicago 112-102. The Cavaliers took a 2-0 series lead, protecting the home court advantage as the series shifts to Chicago.
It was a well-rounded effort from No.23, who had eight rebounds and eight assists to go along with his 40 point effort. The game was tight down the stretch, with the Cavaliers only up by three points with just over four minutes remaining in the game. James then put the team on his back, scoring the next 11 points, and putting the game out of reach.
“They call me the closer every time I come in in the fourth quarter,” James remarked in a post-game interview. “It’s my time to put the game away or do what I do best and that’s try to close the game the right way.”
James made a clutch 3-pointer of 6-foot-11 Joakim Noah, who made headlines earlier for criticizing the city of Cleveland. Noah was repeatedly booed throughout the course of the game, finishing with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Despite the loss, Noah stated that he stands by what he said.
“Not at all,” Noah remarked. “You like it? You think Cleveland’s cool? I never heard anybody say ‘I’m going to Cleveland on vacation.’ What’s so good about Cleveland?”
“My whole life I’ve been booed,” Noah stated. “College I was booed a lot. Boston they don’t like me over there. They don’t like me here, either. It’s OK. I have my friends.”
Derrick Rose tabbed 23 points on the night for the Bulls, while Luol Deng added 20, as the team prepares for game three Thursday in a must-win situation.
Noah led the team in scoring, but gave up several shots to James down the stretch.
“LeBron’s hitting unbelievable shots,” Noah said after the game. “Yes, it’s tough. But we’ve got to play them again, so I don’t want to be up here and give LeBron all this credit. Yeah, he played an unbelievable game. It’s tough right now. I hate to lose, so I’m a little frustrated by that. But we’ll be ready to go come Thursday.”
Online Sportsbooks favor the Cavaliers to win the 2010 NBA Championship, along with the L.A Lakers.