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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cavs dump out Bulls

LeBron plays through pain to set up Celtics clash

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James pulled his right arm tightly to his chest, unable to do anything but grimace as the final seconds expired on Cleveland's series-clinching win.

The Bulls were finally out of the way.

But for the Cavaliers, moving on in the NBA playoffs wasn't pain free.

James, playing despite an injured right elbow that went numb and forced him to shoot a free throw left-handed in the closing seconds, just missed a triple-double as the Cavs advanced to a playoff date with Boston by beating Chicago 96-94 in Game 5 on Tuesday night in perhaps Vinny Del Negro's final game as Bulls coach.

James scored 19 points — 16 in the second half — and added 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Cavs finally saddled the stubborn Bulls to win the series 4-1. After making one free throw, James then hoisted and missed the second with his left with 7.8 seconds left and the Cavs only ahead by four.

James doesn't know when he injured the elbow, which he said bothered him the entire second half. He revealed after the game that he underwent an MRI and X-rays two days ago.

"It bothers me because I don't know what it is," James said. "Hopefully it doesn't continue to bother me. But I'm not concerned. Cleveland fans have nothing to worry about. They have no reason to panic. I don't think it's that serious."

Antawn Jamison scored 25 points and Shaquille O'Neal 14 for Cleveland, which will face Boston, reuniting teams that don't like each other and who played a testy seven-game series in 2008.

Game 1 is Saturday.

"A lot of people are saying they're too old, but we know they're going to come out and give us their best shot," said Jamison, who was not with the Cavs the last time Cleveland met Boston in the postseason. "It's going to be a hard-fought series. It should be fun."

Lakers 111, Thunder 87

In Los Angeles, Pau Gasol had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Bynum added 21 points and the Lakers vigorously rebounded from back-to-back losses with a victory over Oklahoma City, taking a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Kobe Bryant had 13 points and seven assists in three quarters of work as the defending NBA champions coolly shook off the eighth-seeded Thunder's series-tying blowout win in Game 4 with a comprehensive thrashing of the postseason newcomers.

Celtics 96, Heat 86

In Boston, Ray Allen scored 24 points, making five 3-pointers in the second half, to help the Celtics eliminate Miami in Game 5.

With star Dwyane Wade expected to become a free agent, it was the Heat's final game before an eventful summer in Miami.

Mavericks 103, Spurs 81

In Dallas, Caron Butler scored a career playoff-best 35 points and had 11 rebounds, Brendan Haywood provided a strong inside presence at both ends in his first start of this postseason, and the Mavs stayed alive by beating San Antonio in Game 5.

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