CHICAGO — LeBron James had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Antawn Jamison added 24 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 121-98 Sunday afternoon to go up 3-1 in their first-round series.
The Cavaliers led by 10 at halftime after scoring 38 in the second quarter and broke it open with a 37-point third, putting them in position to close it out at home on Tuesday.
James was at it again after scoring 40 and 39 the previous two games, connecting whenever he wanted and from wherever he wanted. He was 6-of-9 on 3-pointers, including a jumper from just inside midcourt at the end of the third that made it 99-76.
James had plenty of help from Jamison, who scored 12 in the third quarter, not to mention Mo Williams. He finished with 19 points.
Chicago got 21 apiece from Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who also pulled down 20 rebounds, but the Bulls are on the verge of their second straight first-round exit after a thorough beating by the Eastern Conference's top seed.
The Cavaliers were simply locked in after a two-point loss in Game 3. They shot 53 percent and outscored Chicago 40-34 in the paint after being dominated there 94-70 the previous two games.
The Bulls were leading 43-40 after Luol Deng hit a 17-footer with just over five minutes left in the half. Then, Cleveland took over.
James scored nine as the Cavaliers ended the half on a 22-9 run, hitting a 3-pointer that put Cleveland ahead 47-45 with 3:36 left, and they continued to build on it.
James nailed a 22-foot fadeaway from up top just before the halftime buzzer, right after a short bank shot by Rose, to make it 62-52. Cleveland quickly put it away after returning from the locker room, scoring the first seven of the third, with James' floater making it 69-52.
Shaquille O'Neal had just six points and five fouls in 17 minutes for Cleveland. … J.J. Hickson played 17 minutes and scored 10 for the Cavaliers. … Deng scored 16 for Chicago. … The Bulls were 4-of-12 on 3-pointers, while Cleveland hit 12-of-25. … Chicago shot 37.4 percent overall. … When Rose scored 31 and Kirk Hinrich 27 in Game 3, it was only the Bulls' third playoff game in which both starting guards scored at least 25. Michael Jordan (36) and Sam Vincent (31) did it against Detroit in 1988, and Jerry Sloan (27) and Norm Van Lier (26) did it against the Lakers in 1973, according to information provided to the team by the Elias Sports Bureau.