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LeBron James scored a season-high 41 points â€” 15 on free throws â€” and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 15 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-93 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
James, who briefly left the floor in the first quarter after twisting his left ankle, missed just once from the line. In his past two games, James, who has struggled with his touch from 15 feet throughout his career, has made 28 of 31 free throws after going 15 of 24 in the season’s first three games.
While engaging in some friendly trash talk with former teammate Drew Gooden, James scored 14 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a reverse layup he spun in off the glass right-handed while driving to his left. Over the final 5:05 of the quarter, James had a hand in all 18 of Cleveland’s points, scoring 10 with three assists.
The Bulls couldn’t do anything to slow down LeBron James, who scored 41 points on 13-for-23 shooting and added nine rebounds and six assists.
Offensively, the Bulls had too many lulls to mount a serious threat. They also were outrebounded 46-35 and allowed former teammate Ben Wallace to grab 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
”They killed us with second-chance points,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ”And LeBron is LeBron.”
Though he wasn’t exactly thrilled when Gooden passed along some private conversations to friend and Washington Wizard DeShawn Stevenson after Gooden was traded to the Chicago Bulls last season. It kicked off a high-profile feud between James and Stevenson during last spring’s playoffs.
So perhaps James’ behavior Wednesday night was a little payback to Gooden. Or maybe it was the complete exploitation of the Bulls’ defensive strategy. Whichever, it resulted in James’ biggest scoring output of the young season and the Cavs’ second consecutive win, 107-93, over the Bulls at The Q.