Wade helps Cavs top Bulls for win 12th straight
CHICAGO — Dwyane Wade finds himself in a new role with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, but when the veteran guard finds the offensive rhythm he has been in of late, he still possesses the ability to take over a game.
With all of the talent Wade has around him, when he is rolling, so are the Cavaliers.
Wade and Kevin Love each scored 24 points, and LeBron James finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Cavaliers won their 12th straight game, a 113-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
The Cavaliers (17-7) can tie a franchise record for consecutive victories with a win Wednesday against Sacramento.
At 35, Wade is a leading early candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year following a season playing for his hometown Bulls. In his first visit back to Chicago with his new team, Wade insisted he had no agenda against his former team.
“I’m just in a good groove and I’m just taking my opportunities as they come,” Wade said.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said Wade played in familiar surroundings Monday with an extra dose of energy.
“He wanted to play well,” Lue said. “Coming back home, he’s from Chicago, his family’s here, his friends are here, he wanted to play well. And he did. He gave us a great boost.”
Cleveland, which also got 14 points from Jeff Green, built a 21-point lead just two minutes into the second half before a Love 3-pointer forced Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to call a timeout.
Cleveland outscored the Bulls 13-5 to open the third quarter behind Love, who scored 10 points in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half. Love sparked the Cavaliers in the third quarter before James, who didn’t attempt a shot in the third quarter, again picked up in the final 12 minutes when he scored eight points as Cleveland won going away.
“Just a total team effort,” Lue said. “Kevin (Love) got going in the third quarter, (Wade) was great (and) LeBron got going in the fourth quarter. Just a total team effort. Guys are just playing well right now.
The Bulls, who have lost nine straight points, started strong and led by as many as six points in the game’s opening minutes. But once Wade began to score and Love and James got rolling, Chicago couldn’t keep pace.
Kris Dunn scored 15 points to lead Chicago (3-19), which also got 14 points from Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday. Lauri Markkanen finished with 13 points to go along with 10 from Bobby Portis.
As has become a trend for the young Bulls, Chicago struggled to play through adversity once the Cavaliers started rolling.
“We had about a five-minute stretch in the first half when we just lost our minds,” Hoiberg said. “It’s those stretches that we have to find a way to eliminate. When we’re not making shots, we have to continue to guard.”
The Cavaliers winning streak came after a rocky start to the season when, at one point, Cleveland lost four straight and six of eight games. But the Cavaliers — who are still playing without guards Isaiah Thomas and Iman Shumpert along with forward Tristan Thompson — have not lost since Nov. 9.
Despite the adjustments and various lineups that Lue has had to employ, the Cavaliers are finding ways to remain successful.
“We just (putting together) consistent efforts over a 48-minute span,” Love said. “Early on, we put together really good quarters, but hadn’t put together a full game of really good sustained efforts. I think that’s showing right now.”
The Cavs will look to keep it rolling on Wednesday.
“We’re just in a good groove,” James said. “And when you’re in a good groove, you want to try to continue that.”
NOTES: Cavaliers G Derrick Rose rejoined the team Monday and will continue to rehab his injured left ankle in Cleveland. Coach Tyronn Lue said he expected Rose to miss a couple more weeks after the former Chicago Bulls star left the Cavaliers on Nov. 22 to think about his playing future after sustaining the ankle injury on Nov. 9. “I know he’s frustrated but like I said, I’m glad he’s in a good place now,” Lue told reporters Monday morning. ... F/C Channing Frye played after being initially listed as questionable with a dislocated finger. ... Bulls F Nikola Mirotic will practice Tuesday before it is determined whether he will travel with for Chicago’s road games this week against Indiana and Charlotte. Mirotic said this weekend that he hopes to return this week after being out with facial fractures. ... F Bobby Portis returned after missing one game with an arm contusion.