Just as Derrick Rose did so in Game Three, winning the game with a dramatic three-point shot at the buzzer, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James executes a similar result in Game Four. His jump shot from the corner at the buzzer gave the Cleveland Cavaliers an 86-84 Game Four victory over the Chicago Bulls as the series heads to Cleveland for a pivotal Game Five on Tuesday night.
A calamity of errors undermined the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of a wild second half. The Bulls maintained an 11-point lead late in the third quarter, but the Cleveland Cavaliers mounted a furious comeback that not only erased the lead, but gave them a five-point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining. Shooting guard Jimmy “Buckets” Butler hit a three-pointer with 27 seconds remaining to cut the Cleveland Cavaliers’ lead to two, 84-82.
The Cleveland Cavaliers inbound the ball to J.R. Smith, who struggles with a double-team, and is forced to call a timeout. On the ensuing inbounds, James Jones is unable to find anyone open and calls the Cavaliers’ final timeout. With no timeouts, Jones looks to inbound and sends the ball to LeBron James, who is immediately double-teamed by Derrick Rose and Mike Dunleavy. LeBron tries to split the double team and elbows Dunleavy, fouling him and turning the ball over to the Chicago Bulls. Strangely, Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt tried to call a timeout and was unaware that he was out of timeouts, but his assistant coaches stopped him in time. Calling a timeout without any time-outs remaining is a technical foul. Therefore, the Bulls would have received a free throw and possession.
On the next possession, Derrick Rose scores on a right-handed layup, tying the game at 84. Without time-outs, the Cleveland Cavaliers inbound the ball to James with eight seconds remaining in the game, who races down the right side of the court and attacks the basket. The problem is there are three Chicago Bulls waiting, and he is unable to get a shot off and the ball was knocked out-of-bounds by Chicago. Replays show he was technically fouled by Bulls center Joakim Noah on the play, but officials tend to “swallow their whistle” on such game-ending plays, not wanting to decide the game with their call. They let the players play in those situations. James complains, but to no avail.
In a twist that helped the Cleveland Cavaliers, the officials called time to set the correct time on the clock, which read 0.8 seconds remaining. While they reset the clock to 1.5 seconds, the Cavaliers used the time to set their final play. When play resumed, James receives the pass from under the basket deep in the left corner. He was so quick to the corner that defender Jimmy Butler could not keep up, and he had a good look at a long jumper for the win. LeBron’s shot at the buzzer was good, and the Cleveland Cavaliers win Game Four over the Bulls in dramatic fashion.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are dealing with another injury in the foot of shooting guard Kyrie Irving. According to Blatt, he was injured in the preceding Boston Celtics series and has not played well in the last two games. Noticeably limping at times, Irving was 2-10 shooting in Game Four. With the shot at the buzzer winning Game Four for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Bulls, that might help his foot heal just a little bit quicker on the flight home.
Commentary By Evander Smart