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Gordon's late burst helps Bulls rally past Cavaliers

Apr 4, 2008 - 5:14 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls were licking their wounds until Ben Gordon decided enough was enough.

Gordon scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls rallied to a 101-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

Larry Hughes scored a team-high 25 points and Luol Deng and reserve Andres Nocioni each added 15 for Chicago, which snapped a six-game road losing streak.

"This was probably the best game (Hughes) has had since he's been with us," Bulls coach Jim Boylan said. "He showed his versatility."

The Bulls (30-45), who still have faint playoff hopes, climbed within five games of the idle Atlanta Hawks (35-40) for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining.

"Mathematically, we're not out of the playoff race, but we have a steep hill to climb," Boylan added.

Superstar LeBron James scored 33 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 23 and seven rebounds for Cleveland (43-34), which appears to be entrenched in the fourth spot in the East.

The Bulls trailed by 17 when James drilled a 20-foot jumper with 4:09 left in the third quarter, giving the Cavaliers a 78-61 bulge.

However, Chicago cut the deficit to eight after three quarters before Gordon took charge.

"It's frustrating for me," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "We were up 17 points late and had plenty of opportunities to put the game away."

In his 38th game off the bench, Gordon hit a jumper with 8:42 left that drew the Bulls within 91-87 with 8:42 left. His third 3-pointer of the game 1:50 later got Chicago within 95-92.

The Bulls tied it at 96-96 on a pair of foul shots by Gordon with 3:57 remaining before he sank three free throws with 1:42 left to give Chicago its first lead, 99-98, since the latter moments of the first quarter.

"I'm very comfortable in that situation (shooting free throws late in the fourth quarter)," Gordon said. "Everything is in my control. There's no defense."

Boylan credited Thabo Sefolosha with a fine defensive effort on James, who scored just a point in the fourth.

"When Thabo's on his game defensively, he's handful," Boylan said. "He can guard three positions and maybe a fourth if the (power forward) isn't too big."

The Cavaliers did not score in the final 3 1/2 minutes of the contest and watched Gordon nail two shots from the stripe with three seconds left, before the home team had a final shot to tie the score.

Cleveland's final possession was a three-point attempt by Daniel Gibson at time expired.

"The play was (designed) to get me open and take the shot," James said. "But without hesitation I saw a (Bulls defender) leaving Boobie (Gibson) and he was wide open so it was the best shot we could have got. It was a great look."

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