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Jimmy Butler took care of LeBron James on defence and scored 16 points on offence to lead Chicago to a 95-88 overtime win over the reigning NBA champion Miami on Sunday. Butler also tallied 11 rebounds, four steals and a block for the Bulls, who prevented James from making a trip to the free throw line for the first time in an NBA game in over four years. Joakim Noah had 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks for the Bulls, who have split the first two games of a six-game homestand. James scored 17 points on eight-of-23 shooting from the field.
Pro-Russian activists with clubs and whips clashed with pro-Kiev supporters Sunday as tens of thousands rallied across Ukraine in rival protests, and Russian President Vladimir Putin dug in his heels in the standoff with the West. German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a strong rebuke to the Russian strongman, telling him a planned Crimean referendum on joining the Russian Federation was illegal and deploring the lack of progress on creating an international diplomatic group to resolve the crisis. In phone conversations with Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Putin in turn accused Ukraine's new leaders of failing to rein in "ultra-nationalist and radical forces". Defying Western condemnation of the March 16 referendum, he asserted the pro-Russian authorities in Crimea organising the vote were legitimate and acting "based on international law".