CHICAGO (AP) Nikola Vucevic scored 25 points, Lauri Markkanen added 16 on the bench and the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-96 on Saturday night to break a five-game losing streak.
Denzel Valentine had 13 points off the bench while Chicago reserves accounted for 45 points.
The Bulls were playing a second straight game without All-Star Zach LaVine, who is in NBA health and safety protocol and not with the team.
“We have to find out,” Markkanen said. “ Even without him I still think we have a lot of talent. ”
Colin Sexton and Darius Garland collected 22 points apiece as the Cavaliers lost their second in a row and fourth in five games.
Cleveland won the first meeting between the teams this season, 103-94 on March 24.
“I hope what happened tonight can be a moment of growth,” said Chicago coach Billy Donovan. “ We played with urgency. ”
The Bulls used a straight 12-point streak in the first quarter to turn a 17-11 deficit into a 23-17 lead. Chicago were leading 29-24 at the end of the first and leading 46-38 with 3 minutes left in the second. But Cleveland rallied to score 11 of the last 12 points of the first half for a 49-47 lead at halftime.
Chicago regained control in the third, jumping to a 75-59 advantage with 3 minutes left in the quarter.
“We came out flat in the third quarter,” said Garland. “ We’ve been dealing with this all year – the start of the first trimester and the start of the third trimester. ”
Chicago’s lead was 80-70 early in the fourth before Cleveland scored seven straight points, leading three points. The Cavaliers managed to get three runs a few times and were 96-93 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. But the Bulls scored 10 straight to put it away.
Markkanen, who had not scored in double digits in the previous five games, started the race with a 3 points. He had been a starter for much of his four seasons in the league before recently joining the bench and is still adjusting to his new role.
“I tried to be aggressive and take the opportunity,” said Markkanen. “It’s a new role for me. I will play my part as best I can. ”
Cavaliers: F Kevin Love had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and C Jarrett Allen also had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds … G Damyean Dotson and G / F Dylan Windler both sat with pain in the back. left knee. Dotson missed his fourth game in a row, while Windler hasn’t played since March 29.
Bulls: G Tomas Satoransky had seven points in 15 minutes after being absent on Friday due to illness … The return of LaVine, sixth in the NBA at 27.5 points per game, remains uncertain. “He’s actually doing well,” said coach Billy Donovan. “He is disappointed that he cannot be part of the team. I think it’s always hard to be alienated from the team and you’re not with the guys. ”
The Cavaliers sit 13th in the Eastern Conference and hope to climb in the final month of the regular season to earn a spot in the play-in tournament.
“I think it’s extremely important to our guys and we talk to them about it,” said coach JB Bickerstaff. “We have young guys who haven’t had the experience of playing meaningful games at the end of the season. It’s huge for our growth. It will be good to see how we respond to them. ”
Cavaliers: Visit the Detroit Pistons Monday night.
Bulls: Visit the Boston Celtics Monday night.
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