CHICAGO (AP) — Derrick Rose scored 30 points, and the Chicago Bulls handed Cleveland just its second loss in 16 games, beating the Cavaliers 113-98 Thursday night.
Pau Gasol added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Tony Snell scored 22, helping offset a 31-point performance by LeBron James, and Bulls sent another strong signal that their recent struggles might be behind them.READ MORE: Chicago Weather Alert: Snow Totals From Lake Effect Snowstorm
They won their fourth straight after dropping 10 of 15 and entered the All-Star break with a 1 1/2-game lead in the Central division over the Cavaliers.
Chicago led most of the way against the NBA’s hottest team and pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Both teams were missing key players, with Chicago’s Jimmy Butler nursing a strained right shoulder and Cleveland’s Kevin Love out with an abrasion in his right eye. But the Bulls did enough to come out on top.
Rose was aggressive from the start, going right at the rim, and finished two points shy of his season high.
Gasol posted his 14th straight double-double, the longest streak by a Bulls player since Michael Jordan’s 15-game run in 1988-89.
Snell came up big again after scoring a career-high 24 against Sacramento on Tuesday. He shot 9 of 11 for the second straight game.
Joakim Noah added 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, and Taj Gibson scored 13.
With Love sidelined, James had little help. Kyrie Irving finished with 17 points but was 6 of 18 from the field. Timofey Mozgov added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Up by seven at halftime, the Bulls scored the first eight points of the third quarter to increase their lead to 63-48.READ MORE: Chicago Weather Alert: Dangerous Driving Conditions With Snow Causing Low Visibility Friday
The Cavaliers made a run late in the period, closing within eight on James Jones’ 3 in the closing seconds. But Rose drove left and cut between two defenders for a neat reverse layup just before the buzzer, drawing loud cheers from the crowd and sending Chicago to the fourth quarter with an 87-77 lead.
The Bulls led by as much as 15 in the first half and took a 55-48 edge to the locker room thanks to strong starts by Rose, Gasol and Gibson.
Rose was in attack mode early on, scoring 13 and playing turnover-free ball. Gasol added 12 points. Gibson scored 10 and the Bulls had 15 assists on 22 field goals.
James scored 12 in the half for Cleveland. But with Irving hitting just 2 of 9 shots and Mozgov picking up three fouls, the Cavaliers had a tough time.
The Bulls went on a 13-3 run in the second quarter, bumping their lead from 39-34 to 52-37 with just under four minutes remaining. Mozgov picked up his third foul going for a rebound with Taj Gibson and headed to the sideline during that stretch.
Noah finished the run with a tip-in, making it a 15-point game.
Cavaliers: James had four assists, giving him 6,118 in his career and putting him in sole possession of second place on the NBA’s all-time list among forwards. He came in tied with John Havlicek but now trails only Scottie Pippen, who had 6,135
Bulls: Butler expects to play in Sunday’s All-Star game but will sit out the Skills Challenge, agent Happy Walters said.MORE NEWS: Judge OKs Agreement To Destroy Gun Used By Kyle Rittenhouse
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