CHICAGO (AP) — LeBron James scored 33 points as part of a triple-double, Jordan Clarkson had a tiebreaking four-point play with 1:27 left and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 114-109 on Saturday night.
James had 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his 15th triple-double of the season, and Jeff Green added 21 points. Clarkson finished with 19 points to help the Cavaliers salvage a six-game split on their season-high six-game trip.
Denzel Valentine led Chicago with a career-high 34 points, hitting 8 of 11 from long range. The Bulls wiped out a 17-point halftime deficit even though they held out banged-up core players Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, only to come up short in the closing minutes.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue spent the second half in the locker room with an illness, another hit for an already short-handed team.
The Cavaliers let a 69-52 halftime lead shrink to four heading into the fourth quarter. They got it back up to 11, only to have the Bulls tie it at 99 on Valentine’s 3 from atop the key with 4:13 remaining.
James made a fadeaway shot and hit a jumper after Chicago’s Bobby Portis got blocked down low. James then fed Green for an alley-oop to put Cleveland back on top 105-99 with just over three minutes left.
The Bulls tied it again on 3-pointers by Paul Zipser and Cameron Payne. But Clarkson converted a four-point play after getting fouled by Valentine in the corner, and James hit a pull-up jumper to make it 111-105 with 39 seconds remaining.
Cavaliers: Lue wouldn’t say if the Cavaliers are targeting a specific game next week for Kevin Love’s return from a broken left hand. They host Milwaukee, Toronto and Phoenix. Love hasn’t played since Jan. 30.
Bulls: Coach Fred Hoiberg said Markkanen is “significantly better” but will miss his third straight game because of lower back spasms. LaVine’s surgically repaired left knee is sore and Dunn developed a toe problem in Thursday’s game against Memphis. They have made just 12 starts together since the blockbuster trade for Jimmy Butler with Minnesota on draft night. “I’m confident we’ll get everything (chemistry-wise) in the offseason right with those three guys,” Hoiberg said. “I’m really excited about that opportunity this offseason. Hopefully to get those guys ready and get a step ahead going into training camp.” … C Robin Lopez was inactive.
Cavaliers: Host Milwaukee on Monday.
Bulls: Visit New York on Monday.