Cavs, Celtics advance

LeBron James posted a near-triple-double (19-10-9) to help his Cavs fend off the feisty Bulls, 96-94. Antawn Jamison led Cleveland with 25 points.

In Boston, Dwyane Wade has his own near-triple-double (31-8-10) but the Heat fell to the Celtics, 96-86. Ray Allen caught fire from three (5-of-6, 24 points) and Paul Pierce chipped in with an efficient 21-7-6. Rajon Rondo posted 16-8-12 in the win.

The two teams square off in the next round — it should be a knock-down, drag-out battle. These two franchises simply don’t like each other.

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LeBron’s half-court buzzer-beater [video]

TrueHoop calls this one of the longest jumpers in league history.

That’s a great example of just how strong he is.

LeBron’s triple-double keys blowout

I wonder if LeBron James watched his buddy Dwyane Wade go nuts against the Celtics. Because he certainly looked inspired against the Bulls, posting 37 points (on 11-of-17 shooting), 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Cavs’ 121-98 victory in Chicago. When James is hitting his threes — and he went 6-of-9 on Sunday — he’s unstoppable. And he was unstoppable on Sunday.

The Cavs are going to move on to the second round; it’s just a matter of when.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

LeBron exerts his will in Cavs win

Tied heading into the fourth quarter, the Bulls had a chance to steal Game 2, but LeBron James scored 13 of his 40 points over the final 12 minutes to propel the Cavs to a 112-102 win.

James finished with 40-8-8 and hit 16 of 23 shots from the field. Antawn Jamison added 14 points, Mo Williams added 12, but it was Jamario Moon’s 12 points — on 4 of 5 shooting from long range, three of which came in 4th quarter — that really helped put the Cavs over the top.

Joakim Noah responded to all the drama surrounding his recent comments about the city of Cleveland by posting 25-13, while Derrick Rose added 23-2-8.

The Bulls are about done, aren’t they? Chicago needs to win four straight to take the series, because I don’t see them winning a Game 7 in Cleveland unless the Cavs totally lay an egg.

Cavs, Hawks and Celtics hold home court

Cavs 96, Bulls 83
Derrick Rose (28-7-10) pretty much had is way, but no other Bull scored more than 12 points in the loss. The Cavs looked great at the start and cruised to a 15-point halftime lead behind a svelte and energetic Shaquille O’Neal, who scored 10 points in the first two periods. The Bulls did cut the lead to seven with 6:20 to play in the game, but a 16-10 run by the Cavs put the game out of reach. LeBron posted 24-6-5 and Mo Williams added 19-4-10 in the win.

Hawks 102, Bucks 92
Atlanta got off to a blistering start and led by 17 after the first quarter and by 22 at halftime. But the Bucks fought back behind 34 points from Brandon Jennings and 16 points from John Salmons, and managed to cut the lead to seven with an Ersan Ilyasova three-pointer with 7:56 to play. But there was just too much Mike Bibby, who hit 8 of 9 from the field for a surprising 19 points. Joe Johnson led the way with 22-7-5 and Al Horford added 15-7 with five blocks. Scott Skiles may want to rethink his matchups. To start the game, his best defender, Luc Mbah a Moute, was watching Johnson, but that put Carlos Delfino on Josh Smith, who just owned him down low. If Johnson would’ve had a bad game, sure, keep Mbah a Moute on him, but if he’s going to score 20+ anyway, you might as well make things more difficult for Smith on the block.

Celtics 85, Heat 76
We’ve wondered all season if this lackluster Boston team can simply flip the switch, and they managed to do it in Game 1. Miami led by 14 with about seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but the C’s clamped down defensively and rattled off a 38-15 run over the remaining 19 minutes. There was a strange scene late in the fourth when Paul Pierce collapsed near the Miami bench with under a minute to play. Contrary to Hubie Brown’s analysis, Pierce injured his neck when his head got caught on the official as he headed out of bounds. While he was down, Quentin Richardson came over (for some unknown reason) and Kevn Garnett, who was standing over Pierce, threw a little elbow into Richardson to keep him back. The two started talking shit, and next thing you know, KG throws another elbow and gets tossed from the game. We’ll see if the league steps in and hands down any suspensions. There also may be an argument that a few Heat players “left the bench area” even though the scrum happened right in front of the Miami bench. In the end, someone for the Heat needs to step up and make some shots. Dwyane Wade (26-8-6) is a great, great player, but he can’t do it all by himself. Jermaine O’Neal and Michael Beasley combined to go 6 of 22 from the field for 14 points. That’s not going to get it done. (By the way, what the hell happened to O’Neal? He’s only 31 and should be in his less-explosive-but-savvy-enough-to-score-at-will phase.)

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