Cavaliers pound it down against Chicago
CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Cavaliers made sure Joakim Noah went home without having any fun.
LeBron James scored 40 points and took over in the fourth quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers, fueled by a rabid home crowd that booed every move by Noah, maintained home-court advantage by beating the Chicago Bulls 112-102 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
James added eight rebounds and eight assists for the Cavs, who led 96-93 with 4:30 left before the league's soon-to-be-two-time MVP decided to dominate. He dropped a 3-pointer over Noah that he capped with a quick dance move and wink toward Chicago's bench, made two free throws, a layup and two jumpers, scoring 11 straight as Cleveland opened a 107-98 lead with 1:36 left.
Noah, who criticized Cleveland's lack of downtown activity between Games 1 and 2, had 25 points and 13 rebounds. Derrick Rose added 23 points and Luol Deng had 20 for the Bulls.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Chicago.
Antawn Jamison scored 14 points and Jamario Moon made four 3-pointers for Cleveland, which looked much more out of sync than in Game 1. Shaquille O'Neal, a force at both ends in the opener, scored eight points and played only 15 minutes - zero in the fourth quarter.
James spent the first 3:26 of the fourth on the bench getting rest. When he returned to the court, the Cavs were clinging to an 85-82 lead over the Bulls, who were giving top-seeded Cleveland all it could handle and were intent on evening the best-of-seven series.
With the Cavs up three points, James then pulled up for his 3-pointer over Noah, who had criticized Cleveland's superstar for dancing on the court in a game earlier this season. James, though, gave a little shoulder shake after his basket and then capped his personal outburst with a jumper over Kirk Hinrich just before the 24-second clock expired.