Cavaliers tame Bulls on Murray’s late trey
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Flip Murray drained a three-pointer from deep
in the right corner with just 3.9 seconds remaining to lead Cleveland over
Chicago, 92-91, at the United Center.
“I’ll tell you what, Flip made great plays for us down the stretch,” Cleveland
coach Mike Brown said. “Everyone wants LeBron to take that last shot. But he’s
a guy who will pass it back to the open guy.”
Murray had 13 points for the Cavaliers, who snapped a five-game skid. LeBron
James paced Cleveland with a game-high 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight
assists in the win. Eric Snow recorded 14 points and dished out eight assists
while Anderson Varejao each 13 points in the win.
“I’ve told you guys I’m not going to force anything,” James said. “Flip had a
wide-open three. He hit the big shot for us.”
Kirk Hinrich tallied 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Bulls,
who lost for the third time in their last four outings. Luol Deng added 18
points and 10 boards while Ben Gordon netted 16 in the loss.
“We know how big this month is for us,” Hinrich said after the loss. “This
just isn’t the right way to start it off.”
After being totally outplayed during the first three quarters, the Bulls
embarked on a furious comeback in the final stanza. Down by 15 entering the
frame, Chicago scored 11 of the quarter’s first 13 points.
Andres Nocioni capped the burst with a pair from the charity stripe to make
the score 77-71 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Cleveland answered with four straight points over the next two minutes to take
back control, momentarily. First, James buried a pair from the line and Murray
quickly followed with a driving layup that made the score 81-71.
Instead of wavering, the Bulls responded with 11 straight points to take back
the lead. Hinrich highlighted the flurry with a trey and Gordon finished with
1-of-2 from the line to make things 82-81 Chicago with 3:04 left on the clock.
The two teams then went on the see-saw, trading buckets until Gordon’s runner
put the Bulls on top 88-87 with just 39 ticks left.
After Varejao missed a pair from the line, Deng made two from the stripe to
put Chicago on top 90-87 with 16 seconds left.
Murray brought the Cavs closer, 90-89, with a driving layup with 12 second
After Hinrich converted just 1-of-2 from the line, Murray buried his game
winner for the Cavs.
“We committed the cardinal sin,” said Bulls coach Scott Skiles after the game.
“We were up two and you don’t leave a three-point shooter. We got sucked in on
LeBron. We did it at the wrong moment and Murray made us pay.”
The Cavs raced out to a 26-17 edge after the first 12 minutes of action and
blew open the game with a dominating second quarter.
Cleveland started the quarter with a 13-2 run, capped by a Donyell Marshall
dunk, to make the score 39-19 with a little over eight minutes left in the
The Cavs continued to stretch their advantage. A James lay-in gave Cleveland
its largest lead, 55-30, late in the half. Chicago managed to recover a bit,
ending the half with a 7-0 spurt to make it 55-37 at intermission.
James paced the Cavs with 19 at the half while Deng had 11 for Chicago.
The Bulls closed the gap slightly in the third quarter and trailed 75-60
heading into the final frame.
The Bulls are 13-16 at the United Center this season…Cleveland owns a 13-16
road record this season…The Cavs were 3-of-11 from long range in the
game…Chicago won the battle of the boards, 50-45.