LeBron James watched his coach draw up the final play — and then drew one up of his own.
"Give me the ball and get out of the way," he said.
James overruled Cleveland coach David Blatt's idea for a last-second inbounds play and drained a jumper from the corner at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers an 86-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, evening the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
During a stoppage the Cavs only got because the officials were reviewing a play, Blatt designed a play that had James taking the ball out. The four-time NBA MVP has been in enough pressure situations that he vetoed his coach.
"I was supposed to take the ball out," James said. "I told Coach there was no way I'm taking the ball out unless I could shoot it over the backboard and go in. So I told him, 'Have somebody else take the ball out.' The play that was drawn up, I scratched it. I just told Coach, 'Just give me the ball. We're either going to go into overtime or I'm going to win it for us.' "
James, playing the final quarter on a sprained left ankle, finished with 25 points to help the Cavaliers win in another wild finish, returning the favor after Chicago took Game 3 on Derrick Rose's banked three-pointer at the horn.
This time, James got whistled for an offensive foul when he elbowed Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Rose scored on a driving layup with 9.4 seconds left. Blatt tried to call a timeout but didn't have one, and assistant Tyronn Lue alertly pulled him off the court.
Then, following an animated break, James ended it with the 21-foot jumper over Jimmy Butler, setting off a wild celebration by Cleveland's players who pinned James to the scorer's table.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series that's had about everything is Tuesday night in Cleveland.
James rolled his left ankle in the third quarter but fought off the injury. He committed eight turnovers and struggled again from the field, hitting 10 of 30 shots after going 8-for-25 in Game 3. But he also had 14 rebounds, eight assists and a shot that gave Cleveland fans some comfort after Rose broke their hearts on Friday night.
"There's nothing you can do about it," Rose said of James' contested jumper. "He hit a great shot. … We just have to make sure that if we're in that position again, just make sure that we force him out a little bit more or make someone else get the ball."
Kyrie Irving, playing with a sprained right foot, was 2-for-10 and had 12 points and two assists.
Los Angeles 128, Houston 95: DeAndre Jordan scored 26 points, surviving Houston's intentional-foul fest in the first half, and the Los Angeles Clippers took a 3-1 lead and put the Rockets on the brink of elimination.
"They beat the hell out of us," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "I don't know what else to tell us."
Jordan made 14 of 34 free throws, attempting an NBA playoff-record 28 in the first half, and had 17 rebounds.
"We just tried to muck the game up a lite bit," McHale said of intentionally fouling Jordan.
Blake Griffin added 21 points, J.J. Redick had 18 points and Chris Paul finished with 15 points and 12 assists.
The Clippers can advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history with a victory in Game 5 Tuesday in Houston.
James Harden scored 21 points and Trevor Ariza added 18 for the Rockets. Dwight Howard was held to seven points and six rebounds after being in foul trouble most of a game that grinded to a halt early on when Houston started forcing Jordan to the line. Howard fouled out with 9:52 left.