With the "Big Three" reduced to the "Banged-Up Two,"
James scored 38 points,
Showing no ill effects from a sprained left ankle, James collected 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks and didn't have a turnover in 41 minutes to ensure the Cavs will again play at home this season. The four-time league MVP was locked in from the start, imposing his will on a game the Cavaliers had to have.
"I commend him for putting us on his back," Irving said.
Cleveland can wrap up the best-of-seven series and advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night at United Center in Chicago, where the teams exchanged buzzer-beating victories last weekend.
The drama wasn't quite as high in Game 5, but it was close and it was intense.
Jimmy Butler scored 29 point and Mike Dunleavy 19 for Chicago. Derrick Rose scored 16, 12 in the first quarter, but the star guard shot just two for 15 in the final three quarters and aggravated a shoulder "stinger" he sustained in Game 1.
Fueled by an altercation that led to the ejection of Chicago's
Cleveland, though, got a huge offensive rebound by
James, though, was the difference. After a few un-LeBron-like performances in which he was sloppy with the ball, James had his first turnover-free game this season.
"Yay!" he joked, feigning surprise. "No turnovers! That was the first stat I was looking at after the game. I was trying to be efficient for my teammates and I was very efficient."
The Bulls were missing big man Pau Gasol, who sat out his second straight game because of a strained left hamstring and didn't sound confident before Game 5 that he'd be ready by Thursday.
They also played the final 10:25 without Gibson, ejected for kicking Cavs guard
Gibson could be facing further discipline from the league, and Dellavedova, too, might get penalized for his role.