LAS VEGAS -- Pooh Jeter hit a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left in the game to give the Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0) an 81-80 victory over the Chicago Bulls (1-2) Friday night in the 2010 NBA Summer League from UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center. The Cavaliers trailed by as much as a 16 in the contest and never led until Jeter connected from the right corner off a pass from Aaron Jackson.
Trailing by 10 with 6:39 remaining in the contest, Cleveland chipped away at Chicago's lead. A 12-4 run by the Cavaliers in a span of 3:10 made the score 73-72 with 3:07 remaining. The Bulls went back up by three after two free throws, but could never put any more distance between themselves and their opponent.
Cleveland knotted the game twice in the final 1:45, but fell behind by two on two different occasions with the final one occurring with 12.9 seconds left on the clock. Chicago's Morris Almond pushed the lead to two after connecting on one of two free throws.
Unfortunately, Almond left the door open for Jeter's game-altering heroics, as he capped off his night with 20 points.
J.J. Hickson led all scorers with a game-high 21 points for Cleveland. Christian Eyenga joined Hickson and Jeter in double figures with 10 tallies of his own.
Chicago had a quartet of scorers reach double-digits with Samardo Samuels topping out with a team-high 19 in a losing effort. John Lucas chipped in 15, while Almond had 14. Trent Plaistad closed out Chicago's 10-plus scorers with 12 points.
Cleveland shot 45.2 percent (28-for-62) for the game to Chicago's 38.7 percent (24-for-62). The Cavaliers held the edge in three-pointers making six to the Bulls' two, but the Bulls made 11 more free throws (30-to-19).
The Cavaliers fell behind by 10 points nearly three and a half minutes into the game and shot a paltry 33.3 percent (6-for-18) from the field in the opening quarter. The Bulls held a 12-point cushion after the first 10 minutes of action with help from their 50 percent shooting (8-for-16) and nine makes from the charity stripe.
The second quarter witnessed Cleveland fall behind by 16 with 4:57 left before intermission. The Cavaliers then went on a 13-2 run over a 3:35 span to pull within four at 41-37 with over a minute left in the action. The Bulls did not have a field goal in the final 5:26 of the second, as they scored a total of eight points from the charity stripe before the break.
Chicago's inability to hit a free throw carried over into the third for 25 seconds. In all, they went 5:51 without a field goal combined between the middle quarters. Cleveland fell behind by 12 midway through the third, but pulled within four before the final quarter of action.