The slumping Chicago Bulls are coming off the worst shooting display in the NBA this season, but they posted the best effort in the league in 2012-13 during an earlier matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chicago tries to bounce back from a forgettable performance as it opens a three-game homestand seeking a 12th consecutive win over Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The Bulls (32-24), averaging 92.5 points to rank near the bottom of the NBA, have been limited to 87.6 per game during a 3-6 stretch. Things got especially ugly for Chicago in a 102-72 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Nate Robinson had 13 points and shot 2 of 14 as the Bulls were held to 29.06 percent from the field -- their lowest mark in nine seasons and slightly worse than Charlotte's 29.11 effort versus the Thunder in November.
"It was bad tonight," Joakim Noah told the team's official website after scoring eight points and going 2 of 9 from the field. "We took steps backward. That's what's frustrating. There's really no excuse. We've just got to bounce back ASAP.
" ... It's not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. We've got a home stretch coming up and things move fast in this league. We've got to bounce back fast."
Chicago, which continues to play without Derrick Rose, was also missing Kirk Hinrich for the 10th time in 11 games due to a sore right elbow. The Bulls could be even more short-handed Tuesday with Taj Gibson uncertain to play.
The reserve forward had eight points and went 2 of 11 from the floor before leaving Sunday with a sprained left knee.
"We've got enough. We have to do our jobs. We've shown when we do that, we're capable of beating anyone," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We have to be mentally tougher, we have to be stronger. When you face a little bit of adversity with whatever, when you're short-handed, you have to dig down and get the job done."
Chicago has certainly taken care of business against Cleveland (18-38) of late. The Bulls have shot 50.5 percent and outscored the Cavaliers by an average of 17.8 points during their 11-game winning streak in the series.
Included in that run is a 115-86 road victory Nov. 2. Chicago went 44 for 69 from the field for the highest field-goal percentage (63.8) by any team this season.
Cleveland posted back-to-back wins over New Orleans and Orlando before coming up short 109-105 at Miami on Sunday. The Cavaliers, who trailed by 22 in the third quarter, led by eight with under five minutes to go but couldn't hold on.
"You can't give up easy baskets," coach Byron Scott said. "We had a very good chance against a very good basketball team, the world champions, and we lost the game because of mental mistakes. That's just something that we can't have happen again."
Rookie Dion Waiters, averaging 18.5 points and 51.7 percent shooting over the last four games, scored a team-high 26. C.J. Miles made five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points off the bench.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved
MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade got hot down the stretch, and LeBron James missed a layup in the final minute.
Both were huge breaks for the Miami Heat.
James scored 28 points, Wade scored 11 of his 24 in the final five minutes -- when Miami needed him most -- and the Heat extended the NBA's longest current winning streak to 11 games, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-105 in a back-and-forth matchup Sunday night.
The Heat blew a 22-point second-half lead then rallied from eight down with 5:16 left.
"We're a veteran ballclub and we've been in every situation that an NBA game can offer us," James said. "We don't get too high, we don't get too low, we just play the 48 minutes out and see where it takes us."
Dion Waiters scored 26 points, C.J. Miles added 19 and Kyrie Irving scored 17 for Cleveland, which outscored Miami by a stunning 30 points over a 17-minute stretch of the second half, yet still came up empty.
The Cavaliers are now 1-8 against the Heat since James signed with Miami in July 2010.
"We had a very good chance against a very good basketball team, the world champions, and we lost the game because of mental mistakes," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. "That's just something that we can't have happen again."
In fairness, it wasn't just mental mistakes that doomed Cleveland late. There was a bit of luck involved for the Heat.
Miami was up by two and held possession with 1:03 remaining. The shot clock was running down and Chris Bosh was open to try a 16-footer from the right wing. As Bosh was about to release, James got inexplicably free under the basket, thrusting both his arms skyward. Bosh threw him the pass -- and James, enjoying the best shooting season of his career, did the unthinkable: He missed the easy one.
This is where the luck comes into play.
The rebound found its way back to Bosh, the Heat ran down another shot clock, and Wade got loose for a two-handed dunk that pushed Miami's lead to 105-101 with 24.4 seconds left.
It was a double-whammy for Cleveland. Miami scored and took nearly 40 seconds off a dwindling clock in the process.
"Hey, I'm a smart player. That's what basketball IQ is all about," James said afterward, unable to hold back a sly grin. "I have no idea how I blew that layup. But it did work out for us. Got an extra possession, D-Wade was able to turn the corner and get a slam."
Said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: "I liked that play."
Wade started what turned into a 16-4 run with a fadeaway with just under 5 minutes to go, then added a three-point play on the next Miami possession to cut the Cavs' lead to 97-94.
And after Irving missed a layup with 1:35 left, Wade got the rebound and set up Battier for a 3-pointer that put Miami on top again -- and for good.
"I thought that we had the game," Cavaliers forward Alonzo Gee said.
Sure looked like that was the case, after a ridiculously good third quarter.
Down 68-46 early in the third, the Cavaliers looked finished -- last-place team, on the road, against the reigning NBA champions who just happened to have the league's longest current winning streak.
Midway through the third, Miami's lead was still 17.
With two minutes left in the period, the cushion was 10.
By the start of the fourth, it was nonexistent.
The C.J. Miles Show lasted for all of 63 seconds. And they were a scintillating 63 seconds.
It starts with 1:35 left, a 3-pointer from Miles getting the Miami lead down to seven. Then he got a rebound, came downcourt and connected on another 3-pointer. Lead down to four. Another stop by the Cavs on one end, then another 3-pointer for Miles on the other -- that one coming both with him drawing a foul from Chalmers, and with Spoelstra getting hit with a technical from referee Ed Malloy for arguing.
Miles made the technical free throw to tie the game, the free throw for the Chalmers hit to put the Cavs ahead, and they carried that 82-81 lead into the fourth, having closed the quarter on a 36-13 run.
"Guys just finally decided to start playing," Miles said.
Miami used a 23-4 run in the first half to take what looked like a commanding 42-22 lead -- with more than 9 minutes left until the break. And after Cleveland got within seven, Miami answered with another burst.
James didn't miss in the final 4:29 of the half, scoring 10 points on a 4-for-4 run from the floor and fueling what became 16-5 spurt that gave Miami a 64-46 lead going into the locker room. And for good measure, Miami got the first two baskets of the second half, pushing the lead to 22, the biggest of the night.
Not even remotely close. Not until the final frantic seconds, as the Heat not only extended their win streak but won for the fourth time in five nights.
"We found a way," Wade said. "I felt like in the first three quarters, I couldn't move. But in the fourth, you just find it. ... We just turned that other switch on."
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
CLEVELAND (AP) Bright lights bring out the best in Kyrie Irving. Coming off an impressive showing during All-Star weekend in Houston, Irving carried the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 105-100 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night. Irving scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, including 11 in a row and 18 of 20, to help the Cavaliers break away from an 83-all tie in the final 4:23.
"In the fourth quarter especially when it's winning time, obviously I want to win and my teammates want to win,'' he said. "Luckily, some shots went in.'
' Cavaliers coach Byron Scott sensed something big was about to happen when he put Irving back into the game with 7:08 remaining. "You can see it coming,'' Scott said. "He gets a little bit of a gleam in his eye. He hits one or two shots and just kind of gets going.'' The Hornets were obviously impressed. "Kyrie had a real good game,''
New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "He got to the basket whenever he tried to, especially late.'' "Kyrie really took the game over and put his team on his back,'' guard Austin Rivers said. "We did a bad job trying to be physical with him.
We just let him walk in the lane and get buckets. You've got to take some hard fouls and make guys earn it at the line, and we didn't.'' Irving's performance brought the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena to its feet during the final minutes and had Irving pumping his fist on several occasions. The game featured two former No. 1 overall draft picks: Irving and Hornets center Anthony Davis. Irving made 13 of 22 shots and all seven of his free throws while having seven assists.
Davis had 12 points and four rebounds. The Cavaliers placed five players in double figures in breaking a three-game losing streak, but the night belonged to Irving. After his fall-away jumper gave Cleveland a two-point lead, he hit a 3-pointer from a couple of steps behind the arc to put the Cavaliers ahead 88-83 and prompt New Orleans to call a timeout. It didn't help. Irving was just getting going.
New Orleans missed again on its ensuing possession and Irving converted a layup between two defenders on a fast break for a 90-83 lead. He added another basket after driving the lane and two free throws. Irving drew national attention with his performance over the weekend. He scored 15 points in his first All-Star game, won the 3-point contest and put up 32 points in the Rising Stars Challenge. Dion Waiters scored 16 points for the Cavaliers while C.J. Miles added 11.
Rookie Brian Roberts led New Orleans with 17 points, tying a season high. Robin Lopez scored 15 points before fouling out, while Greivis Vasquez added 13. Irving had his worst performance of the season in the final game before the break against San Antonio with six points on 2-of-15 shooting. He admitted before the game he was still catching up on his rest, but it didn't look that way with the game on the line.
"He was just kind of making shots everywhere,'' Scott said. "He made some great shots, did some great things and the crowd was fantastic.'' "It stems off the trust that my teammates have in me and the coaching staff has in me,'' Irving said. Cleveland played the finale of a seven-game homestand, which began with three wins. The Cavaliers then lost the last three games before the break.
New Orleans lost at home to Chicago on Tuesday and then made the trip to Cleveland for an unusual back-to-back set. Hornets guard Eric Gordon didn't play for precautionary reasons as he continues to recover from knee surgery. He has yet to play on back-to-back nights on orders of the team's medical staff. Gordon, who is averaging 16.6 points, missed the final game before the All-Star break with a sprained right hand, but scored 20 points Tuesday in a 96-87 loss to Chicago. Rivers started in Gordon's place and scored 11 points. Ryan Anderson, who leads New Orleans in scoring with a 16.9 average, was held to seven points.
NOTES: New Orleans F Al-Fasrouq Aminu had 10 rebounds in 36 minutes. ... Gordon has appeared in 19 games, but it's unclear when he'll be able to play on consecutive nights. "I wish that (policy) was over, but we don't see it ending anytime soon,'' Williams said. "For whatever reason, the doctors feel that's best for Eric. But he's healthy, so it's tough.'' ... Scott will attend funeral services for Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss on Thursday in Los Angeles. Scott played for the Lakers for 11 seasons and remained close to Buss over the years. "I'm trying to remember how great he was as a person and how great he was as an owner,'' Scott said. ... Assistant coach Paul Pressey will run Thursday's practice and Scott will return for Friday's session.
While Kyrie Irving has emerged as a legitimate star, Anthony Davis is still trying to find some consistency following an up-and-down first half.
The last two No. 1 picks meet for the first time on Wednesday night when Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers host Davis and the New Orleans Hornets.
After his worst performance of the season with six points on 2-of-15 shooting in a 96-95 loss to San Antonio last Wednesday, Irving headed into the All-Star weekend intent on leaving his mark.
He certainly did that in Houston, scoring 32 in the Rising Stars Challenge, winning the 3-point contest and finishing with 15 points in his first All-Star game.
Now the 2011-12 rookie of the year will try to carry that momentum into the second half.
"(The) weekend was just basically about earning everybody's respect, and getting a chance for people to see me that don't usually see me," Irving said.
Irving is sixth in the league in scoring at 23.5 points per game, and averaged 26.2 points while shooting 51.6 percent in his previous 10 games before his clunker against the Spurs. However, he had a similar performance with six points on 2-of-13 shooting in an 89-84 home loss to New Orleans last February.
The Hornets' 2012 first overall pick, meanwhile, looks to build off his recent success following the worst stretch of his rookie season.
After averaging 4.8 points while shooting 29.0 percent over a four-game span, Davis bounced back with 21 and 11 rebounds in a 99-63 win over Portland last Wednesday and 15 points and 10 boards in a 96-87 loss to Chicago on Tuesday.
New Orleans (19-35) has also been playing better lately, winning four of its last five and 12 of 21 before losing to the Bulls.
"That's the best thing about the NBA," point guard Greivis Vasquez said. "We have another one tomorrow, and we get to get over this."
The Hornets averaged 101.0 points while hitting 29 of 62 (46.8 percent) from 3-point range over a four-game stretch before making just 4 of 17 from long range on Tuesday.
They may be able to get back on track against the Cavaliers, who have allowed 105.6 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting over their last eight.
New Orleans, though, is expected to be without Eric Gordon, who has averaged 22.0 points and made 15 of 30 from beyond the arc in five career games against Cleveland. Gordon, who had a team-high 20 points Tuesday, has not played in the second end of back-to-back games since returning from a right knee injury that cost him the first 29 games.
Following its best stretch of the season with six wins in eight games, Cleveland (16-37) stumbled into the break with three consecutive home losses.
The Cavaliers' Tristan Thompson hopes to continue his strong play from the past month. The second-year forward has averaged 15.6 points on 52.9 percent shooting in his last 14 games.
Cleveland has scored 107.7 per game -- 10.7 above its season average -- in its last six, and will try continue that pace against a New Orleans team that has allowed an average of 81.7 points in its last three.
8pm tip on WTAM 1100
Copyright 2013 Associated Press
(Cleveland) - The Cavaliers are back at Cleveland Clinic Courts practicing
after the All Star break. There wasn't much of a break for Kyrie Irving who
was the "buzz" player of the weekend. Kyrie admits he's a little tired, but
he and his teammates don't return to action until Wednesday night, when
they host the New Orleans Hornets in an 8pm tip.
The 16-37 Cavs have gone 3-3 on their lenghty homestand and really need
a win before begining a 3 game roadtrip Saturday night at Orlando. The trip
will also see them play at Miami and Chicago.
Cavs-Hornets Wednesday 8pm. (WTAM 1100)
Kyrie Irving was on the losing side in Sunday nights All-Star game as the
East fell to the West 143-138, but if there was one player who was the big
winner over the weekend, it was the Cavs prized point guard. Irving scored
15 points grabbed 3 rebounds and had 4 assists in the game, but more
importantly he showed that he belongs in the classic.
Irving capped a weekend, that saw him scored 32 points in Friday night's
Rising Stars game and then stun the world, by winning the 3 point shooutout
on Saturday night. After Sunday night's All Star game, Kyrie indicated, that
he was a "little tired," hopefully he can get a little rest before the Cavs
next game which will be Wednesday night, when the Cavs will host the
New Orleans Hornets at the Q. 8pm WTAM 1100
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving put on an incredible shooting display to win
the 3 point shootout contest over San Antonio's Matt Bonner. Irving began
the final round going 7-for-7 and finished with 23 points, just 2 shy of the
record for the event. Bonner finished with 20 points. Irving will play in his
first All-Star game Sunday night in Houston.
CLEVELAND (AP) Kawhi Leonard made a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining to give the San Antonio Spurs a 96-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Leonard's clutch basket came after Dion Waiters' jump shot with 9.5 seconds remaining put Cleveland ahead 95-93. The Spurs, who have won 14 of 15, had stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the floor together for the first time since Jan. 13. Kyrie Irving, who was held to a season-low six points, missed a desperation runner from the top of the key as time expired.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 24 points while Gary Neal scored 15. Waiters scored 20 points to lead Cleveland, which has dropped three straight after winning a season-high three in a row. San Antonio called timeout after Waiters' shot put Cleveland ahead.
The Cavaliers had a foul to give and grabbed Duncan with 8.8 seconds remaining. The ensuing inbounds pass went to Parker, who missed San Antonio's win in Chicago with a sore ankle.
The Spurs' All-Star guard drove into the lane and found a wide-open Leonard in the right corner. Leonard drilled the clutch shot, giving the Spurs a two-point lead. Cleveland called timeout and inbounded the ball to Irving, who drove past the 3-point line. Parker's tight defense forced the Cavaliers' All-Star guard to put up a tough shot, which hit the off the rim and fell off.
Irving, who rolled his left ankle Monday against Minnesota, was 2 of 15 from the field with seven assists. Tyler Zeller, who was scoreless in 25 minutes Monday, had 16 points, including 12 in the first half, for Cleveland. Cleveland, playing its sixth straight home game, was coming off its worst loss of the season Monday to Minnesota, a 100-92 loss.
The Timberwolves played without several injured players, including All-Star forward Kevin Love, but the Cavaliers turned in a lackluster effort from start to finish. Cleveland looked like a different team against the club with the best record in the NBA in the final game before the All-Star break for both games. The Cavaliers built a 10-point lead in the second quarter and was ahead 54-46 at halftime.
San Antonio led briefly twice in the third quarter. Duncan, who had missed eight of the last nine games with a sore left knee, scored 13 points in 25 minutes. Parker, who didn't play Monday because of swelling in his right knee, was 8 of 14 from the field, and had seven assists in 34 minutes. Ginobili, who had missed nine of the last 13 games with a tight left hamstring, had five points in nine minutes off the bench. Leonard sustained a cut above his right eye in the third quarter and left briefly.
He returned wearing a bandage above the eye, scoring 13 points with 10 rebounds. The Cavaliers used an 11-0 run in the second quarter to take a 37-30 lead. Cleveland led by eight at halftime after Danny Green hit two foul shots throws with 1.1 seconds remaining - the Spurs' only made free throws of the half. Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson missed his second straight game because of personal reasons.
NOTES: San Antonio C Tiago Splitter started after twisting his ankle against Chicago on Monday. ... The Spurs are 4-1 on their annual nine-game, 19-day rodeo road trip. ... San Antonio visits Sacramento on Tuesday. ... The Cavaliers are 3-3 on their seven-game homestand. ... Cleveland is 9-16 this season at Quicken Loans Arena. ... The Cavaliers host New Orleans on Wednesday.
The San Antonio Spurs just keep winning, regardless of who's available. Despite numerous key injuries, San Antonio has won 13 of 14 and will try for its sixth straight victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night as it continues its annual rodeo road trip. Despite the absence of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker due to injuries and Stephen Jackson for "personal reasons,"
San Antonio rolled to a 103-89 victory over Chicago on Tuesday. The Spurs got a career-high 26 points from Kawhi Leonard while Danny Green had 18 and Gary Neal added 16. The Spurs (41-12) were outrebounded 49-26, but compensated by scoring 29 points off 19 Chicago turnovers.
"One would hope that you could play with anybody in your system, but it was a tough challenge for them tonight," coach Gregg Popovich said. "And I couldn't be more proud of what they did." San Antonio, 3-1 on its nine-game trip necessitated annually by the rodeo occupying the AT&T Center, has won six of seven away from home and has the league's best road record at 19-10. Parker, who's averaged 30.3 points in his last three contests, sat out Monday with a swollen right knee to avoid playing back-to-back games.
Duncan (knee) and Ginobili (hamstring) missed their fourth and fifth consecutive games, respectively, and Popovich could sit all three stars again Wednesday with that being the team's final contest before the All-Star break.
Jackson's availability is also uncertain, and center Tiago Splitter could also find himself sidelined after an awkward fall in the first quarter Monday. He was icing his left ankle after the game.
"It's painful right now, but we'll see tomorrow how it feels," said Splitter, who had 16 points in 33 minutes. The Spurs will try to piece it together again Wednesday against a Cavaliers team that's dropped two straight since a three-game winning streak. Cleveland (16-36) didn't fare well against another injury-hit club Monday, falling 100-92 to Minnesota.
The Cavs had their own injury scare when star guard Kyrie Irving rolled his ankle in the first half after landing on an opponent's foot. Irving hopped around painfully but played 36 minutes and scored 20 points.
He wasn't available for interviews afterward as he spent time in the trainer's room. Irving went 1 for 5 in the fourth quarter when the Timberwolves shot 75.0 percent and got 12 points from Luke Ridnour.
Wayne Ellington's 3-pointer cut the lead to 82-81 with 7:20 left, but Minnesota responded with a 10-2 run. "We basically did it to ourselves," swingman C.J. Miles said. "They made some tough shots - don't take anything away from them - but for the most part, we gave the game to them. "We just don't get it. It was just a poor effort from the start. It just didn't look like we were interested."
The Spurs won both meetings last season by a combined 51 points, shooting 57.0 percent from the field. Green averaged 16.5 points and hit seven of 11 3-pointers in the two games. Irving averaged 16.0 points but shot 39.4 percent and had seven turnovers and eight assists.