CLEVELAND (AP)Zach LaVine fell just short of a perfect night Saturday.
LaVine scored 44 points and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-106. The 6-foot-5 guard also finished with 10 rebounds and eight assists, barely missing his first career triple-double.
”I haven’t had one before, so when it got to the last two minutes, I was thinking maybe I could get those two assists,” LaVine said. ”It’s all right. I’ll get one eventually.”
LaVine did everything else.
He made 16 of 30 shots and had 27 points at halftime. LaVine drove past his defender for clear looks at the basket, scored when he was double-teamed in the lane, hit five 3-pointers and was 7 of 8 from the line.
”Zach LaVine was just unbelievable – driving, shooting, making back-door cuts – he did it in every way,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said.
LaVine scored 42 points on Jan. 20, including 21 in the fourth quarter when the Bulls rallied from a 15-point deficit to win. Cleveland, which has lost seven straight and 12 of 14, had no better success stopping LaVine this time.
”We’ve tried everything now,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein said.. ”He challenges people. None of it’s worked against LaVine.”
LaVine scored a career-high 49 points against Charlotte on Nov. 23, a total he had a good chance to surpass for most of the game.
”I wanted to come out more aggressive tonight,” he said. ”When you get a team on their heels, you can pick up the (offensive) pressure even more.”
LaVine was held to 16 points when the Cavaliers beat the Bulls in Cleveland on Oct. 30. The teams play for the fourth and final time this season in Chicago on March 10.
Tomas Satoransky had 19 points for the Bulls, who were coming off a home loss to Sacramento on Friday and arrived around 1:30 a.m.
Kevin Love scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds for Cleveland. Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman each had 18 points.
The game was tied at 69 midway through the third quarter before the Bulls went on a 30-7 run to go ahead 99-76. Chicago outscored Cleveland 40-19 in the period.
Cleveland cut a 24-point deficit to 112-103 with two minutes to play, but got no closer.
”We were desperate,” Love said. ”We have to have that sense of urgency the entire game. ”When we don’t have that you see we get down double digits.”
The Cavaliers had lopsided home losses to New York and Washington this week.
Bulls: C Wendell Carter Jr. (sprained right ankle) and Otto Porter Jr. (broken left foot) have been ruled out through the All-Star break. … Satoransky avoided injury after being hit in the face by teammate Luke Kornet’s shoulder in the third quarter.
Cavaliers: Cleveland was called for a delay of game warning for not getting on the court in time at the beginning of the second quarter. The call resulted in a technical since the Cavaliers had a delay of game in the first quarter, but Ryan Arcidiacono missed the free throw. … Newly hired Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski attended the game and was given a loud ovation when shown on the video board.
Osman, a native of Turkey, is raising money to help victims of a strong earthquake that rocked the eastern part of the country Saturday. Osman donated $200 for each 3-pointer made by the two teams, a total matched by teammate Larry Nance Jr. The Bulls and Cavaliers combined to hit 25 3-pointers.
”It’s not in my hometown – it happened in a different city,” Osman said. ”I wish I could be there with those people, but at least I felt like I had do something to help.”
Chicago didn’t play like a team that has been plagued by injuries. Forward Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, will miss four to six weeks because of an injured right hip. The 7-footer had an MRI on Thursday after experiencing soreness in the hip for about a week.
”I love the guys we have,” Boylen said. ”We’ve got a next-man-up mentality”
Bulls: host San Antonio on Monday. Chicago is 10-15 at United Center this season.
Cavaliers: visit Detroit on Monday. The Pistons lead the season series 2-1.
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