EditorsNote: adds new fifth graf
LeBron James notched his 70th career triple-double with 33 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a second-half rally by the host Chicago Bulls for a 114-109 victory on Saturday night at United Center.
James, who has 15 triple-doubles this season, became the sixth player in NBA history to reach 70 for his career, joining Oscar Robertson (181), Magic Johnson (138), Jason Kidd (107), Russell Westbrook (101) and Wilt Chamberlain (78).
Jeff Green added 21 points and Jordan Clarkson had 19 for Cleveland, which won for the second time in three games and finished its six-game road trip at .500. Ante Zizic added 14 points for the Cavaliers, who shot an efficient 50.6 percent (44 of 87) from the field.
Denzel Valentine scored a career-high 34 points on a personal-best 8-of-11 shooting from 3-point range to lead Chicago. Bobby Portis had 15 points and 15 rebounds, Cameron Payne scored 13 and Paul Zipser chipped in 11 as the Bulls dropped to 4-4 in March.
Chicago center Cristiano Felicio finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was not on the bench to start the second half due to an illness. Larry Drew ran the team in his absence.
Cleveland led 69-52 at halftime before allowing Chicago to creep back in the second half.
After trailing 85-81 entering the fourth quarter, the Bulls had the score knotted up after Valentine’s 3-pointer with 4:13 remaining tied it at 99.
The Cavs scored six straight points courtesy of James and Green before a pair of threes from Zipser and Payne had the scored locked up again at 105 with 1:41 on the clock.
Clarkson knocked down a 3-pointer and was fouled with 1:27 left, and his free throw completed a pivotal four-point play. James’ pullup jumper with 39 seconds left stretched the Cavs’ lead back up to six.
Two George Hill free throws made it 113-107 with 25.5 seconds left before Valentine countered with a layup with 13.2 left. Hill knocked down one of two free throws with 11.8 ticks to play to help Cleveland seal the win.
Cleveland opens a three-game homestand Monday against Milwaukee. Chicago heads to New York on Monday.
—Field Level Media