Cavaliers Eliminate Bulls 94-73 advance to East finals

LeBron James compiled 15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers eliminated the Chicago Bulls with a 94-73 win in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night. Guard Matthew Dellavedova scored 19 points off the bench for Cleveland, which won the final three games of the series. Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson added 13 points and 17 rebounds. Cleveland advances to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.

The Cavaliers will meet the winner of the semifinal series between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards. Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday. Guard Jimmy Butler scored 20 points to lead the Bulls. Guard Derrick Rose contributed 14 points and six assists. Forward Pau Gasol managed eight points and five rebounds in his return from an injured hamstring. The Cavaliers led by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter, which they entered with a 73-60 advantage. Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving watched most of the game from the bench after injuring his left knee with 9:47 remaining in the second quarter.

Irving cringed after stepping on Thompson’s foot and needed help to reach the locker room, but he returned to the bench several minutes later. He was listed as probable to return but remained on the bench as the Cavaliers built a comfortable lead. Cleveland led 58-44 at halftime after closing the second quarter on a 20-4 run with Irving on the bench. The Cavaliers were on top 41-40 when Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic clotheslined Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert on a drive toward the basket. Mirotic received a flagrant-1 foul on the play. Shumpert responded by scoring six consecutive points, and he finished the quarter with 11 points in 12 minutes. he finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds. The Bulls scored four points in the final 6:38 of the first half. They shot 2-for-10 during that span. Thompson scored 10 points in the first quarter to help Cleveland grab a 33-31 lead. Chicago led 25-18 after guard Mike Dunleavy drilled a 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 run. The Cavaliers responded with a 15-6 surge that included an acrobatic layup by Thompson as he crashed to the hardwood.

Cavaliers: Irving acknowledged the time he is spending treating his injuries is taking away from his preparation on the court ''a little bit.'' He said he will not need surgery and that the medical team told him the only cure is rest. ''That's the only thing that will help me right now,'' he said. Bulls: C Joakim Noah won the J. Walter Kennedy Award, given annually to an NBA player, coach or trainer for community service. The two-time All-Star was selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association for his work with youth. His Noah's Arc Foundation recently launched the ''Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness'' anti-violence initiative, supporting those impacted by violence and encouraging youngsters to express themselves through sports and art.
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