CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 38 points and Kyrie Irving added 25 as the Cleveland Cavaliers held off Chicago's charge in the fourth quarter for a 106-101 victory over the Bulls on Tuesday to take a 3-2 lead in their testy Eastern Conference semifinal.
Showing no ill effects from a sprained left ankle, James added 12 rebounds, six assists and didn't have a turnover in 41 minutes to ensure the Cavs will again play at home this season.
"LeBron was just outstanding, every element of the game," Cavs coach David Blatt said. "You can't pick a thing he didn't do at the highest level."
Cleveland can wrap up the best-of-seven series with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night back at United Center in Chicago, where the teams exchanged buzzer-beating victories last weekend.
The drama wasn't quite as high in Game 5, but it was close and it was intense.
Jimmy Butler scored 29 and Mike Dunleavy 19 for Chicago. Derrick Rose scored 16, 12 in the first quarter, but the star guard shot just 2 of 15 in the final three quarters and aggravated a shoulder "stinger" he sustained in Game 1.
Fueled by an altercation that led to the ejection of Chicago's Taj Gibson, the Cavs led by 17 with 6:09 left and then had to hold off a furious comeback by the Bulls, who got within 101-99 on Butler's 3-pointer with 1:18 left.
Cleveland, though, got a huge offensive rebound by Iman Shumpert before Irving, playing on a sprained right foot and sore left knee, made four free throws in the final 17 seconds.
The Bulls were missing big man Pau Gasol, who sat out his second straight game with a strained left hamstring and didn't sound confident before Game 5 that he'd be ready by Thursday.
They also played the final 10:25 without Gibson, ejected for kicking Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova. " (AP)