LeBron James leaned against a padded basket stanchion and spun a ball on his index finger. As it rotated, his brain seemed to be turning just as quickly.

He's plotting his next move against the Bulls.

After losing Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series to Chicago, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers regrouped yesterday to watch film, work on outside shooting and devise a better defensive scheme to stop a pick-and-roll play the Bulls executed to near perfection during their 99-92 victory.

James came within one assist of a triple-double, but he wasn't happy with his performance, and with Cleveland missing starters Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, the four-time league MVP knows it's going to be up to him and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to even the series tonight. "I've never went into a game saying, 'OK, I'm going to be ultra-aggressive,' " he said. "I've always had to feel out things, but last night it was a little bit too much feel out. I only had two shots at one point. I was just not as aggressive offensively as I was defensively. We'll see. I think I may have to change my mindset a little bit with Kev being out."

James, who has beaten Chicago in three different postseason series and never lost, labeled Game 2 "a game that we must have. You can't go down 0-2 on your home floor," he said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Wall out for Game 2

Washington Wizards guard John Wall was surprisingly on the inactive list for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks last night because of a left hand injury.

Coach Randy Wittman previously had said everyone was available. "The players decide that, how they're feeling, the doctors and all that kind of thing," Wittman said. Wall injured the hand when bracing himself as he fell in the series opener on Sunday. -- AP