Cavs silence Bulls, 112-102
CLEVELAND — Chicago's Joakim Noah had to go back for one more look.
Walking slowly across the confetti-littered court, Noah stopped at the spot just outside the arc where LeBron James had pulled up in his face and made a 3-pointer.
"That's a long way," Noah said, shaking his head in disbelief as he looked at the distant rim. "You've got to be kidding me."
The Chicago Bulls kept daring James to shoot jumpers.
He obliged, scoring 40 points in Cleveland's 112-102 victory last night, which gave the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
"They were telling me I can't make jump shots," James said. "They asked me to shoot a jumper so I did that."
James scored 15 in the fourth quarter, and added eight rebounds and eight assists.
Cleveland led 96-93 with 4:30 left before James took over. He hit his 3 with the 6-foot-11 Noah coming at him and followed with a quick dance move and wink directed at Chicago's talkative bench.
James then made two free throws, a layup and two jumpers, scoring 11 straight points as Cleveland opened a 107-98 lead with 1:36 left.
Noah drew the ire of Cleveland fans by criticizing the city's lack of downtown activity. The Cavaliers fans booed every move by Noah, who also criticized James for dancing on the court in a game earlier this season.
JAZZ 114, NUGGETS 111
DENVER — With Utah running out of big bodies, Deron Williams carried an even bigger load in leading the Jazz over Denver in Game 2 of their Western Conference playoffs.
Williams had 33 points and 14 assists, and Carlos Boozer added 20 points and 15 rebounds as the injury-riddled Jazz tied the series at a win each.
Denver's Chauncey Billups' 3-point attempt from the top of the key in the closing seconds hit off the back iron.
Utah was playing without two of its most experienced playoff performers in forward Andrei Kirilenko (calf) and center Mehmet Okur (torn left Achilles' tendon).
"We can't just give up on the season just because we don't have those guys out here," Williams said.