NBA Playoffs: Bulls hold on to beat Cavs

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CHICAGO (AP) — LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers can forget about sweeping the Bulls out of the playoffs.

Derrick Rose scored 31 points, Kirk Hinrich added 27 and Chicago hung to beat the top-seeded Cavaliers 108-106 Thursday night in Game 3 of a first-round series after its 21-point lead dwindled to one.

James scored 13 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter but also committed some turnovers down the stretch. Even so, the Cavaliers were within 107-106 after Mo Williams nailed a 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left. They immediately fouled Luol Deng, who hit the first free throw but missed the second.

Cleveland’s Anthony Parker got the rebound and raced up the right side but missed a 3 at the buzzer, and the Bulls escaped with the win despite some shaky foul shooting late in the game.

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They will try to tie the best-of-seven series on Sunday.

Hinrich, a career 80.9 percent foul shooter, missed two with 26 seconds left and the Bulls up 104-99.

James then buried a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining to make it a two-point game. The Cavaliers immediately fouled Rose, who missed the first free throw before converting the second to make it 105-102 with 10.1 seconds left.

Chicago fouled Anderson Varejao to prevent a 3-point attempt, and he made the first but missed the second. Brad Miller got the rebound and converted both foul shots to make it a four-point game, and the Bulls hung on after a few more twists.

The Bulls appeared to be in good shape up 21 in the third, only to see the Cavaliers cut it all the way to 94-92 on a pair of free throws and a layup by Antawn Jamison with 4:10 remaining in the game.

Deng, who scored 20, then made a jumper and Joakim Noah stole a pass from James. That led to a jumper by Rose, who then buried a fadeaway as the crowd chanted “Let’s go Bulls!” to make it 100-92 with 2:42 remaining.

James also charged into Deng with 1:18 remaining and the Bulls up by six, then got stripped by Noah. Deng picked up the loose ball and Hinrich hit two free throws to make it 104-96 with 38 seconds remaining.

Several times the Bulls looked as if they might run away with this one.

They were leading 39-23 early in the second after a three-point play by Deng capped an 18-5 run that started in the first, whipping the crowd into a frenzy, and they finished the half with a flourish after Cleveland pulled within seven.

Miller hit a 19-footer with a minute left and Hinrich nailed 20-footer from the wing to make it 56-45 before Noah blocked a driving layup by James in the closing seconds. The Bulls continued to pour it on in the third.

Taj Gibson started it with a jumper and capped the run with another one, making it 68-47 with 7:37 left in the third. The Cavaliers responded with a 13-0 run, but the Bulls held their ground.

Hinrich nailed a 3-pointer with about 4:10 left in the quarter after two free throws by Varejao cut the lead to eight. Gibson then dunked and Deng brought the crowd to its feet, crashing to the floor on a wild reverse layup before a free throw by Hinrich made it a 14-point game.

NOTES: Cavaliers G Delonte West’s trial on weapons charges has been postponed until July 21, meaning he won’t miss any playoff time. Authorities say West was carrying two loaded handguns, a loaded shotgun and an 8 1/2-inch Bowie knife while riding a three-wheel motorcycle on the Capital Beltway in Maryland in September. Police say he was pulled over after cutting off an officer. … Ron Howard got a loud ovation when he was shown midway through the second quarter.

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