The headband returned. The aggressiveness, dunks and dazzling plays all came back, too.
LeBron James rarely has two sub-par games in a row, especially in the playoffs.
James attacked from the start and scored 33 points, Kyrie Irving added 21 and the Cleveland Cavaliers evened their semifinal series with Chicago, beating the Bulls, 106-91, in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Donning his signature headband for the first time in two months and powering to the basket, James kept the Cavaliers from falling into a 2-0 hole in the series. He added eight rebounds and five assists for Cleveland, which led by 25 points in the third quarter and withstood a third-quarter charge by the Bulls.
For the second straight game, the Cavaliers were without forward Kevin Love (shoulder surgery) and J.R. Smith (two-game suspension). But they had James and he was more like himself after a sub-par performance in the opener.
"We're a little banged up, we're short-handed, so I have to be aggressive," James said. "Even more aggressive than my usual self, and I was happy I was able to make a couple of plays to help our team win tonight."
Jimmy Butler scored 18 and Derrick Rose had 14 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, who play host to Game 3 on Friday night. Pau Gasol added 11 points — 10 fewer than Game 1, when he destroyed the Cavaliers on uncontested jumpers.
Iman Shumpert added 15 points, James Jones made five three-pointers and Tristan Thompson added 12 rebounds for Cleveland. Thompson started at power forward in Love's spot, allowing James to move back to his usual role at small forward.