Rookie guard Coby White scored a team-high 20 points in his first career start and the Chicago Bulls held on for a 108-103 win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting for Chicago, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Denzel Valentine finished with 15 points apiece.
Collin Sexton scored a game-high 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting for Cleveland. Andre Drummond had 21 points and Larry Nance Jr. scored 16, but it was not enough as the Cavaliers fell short several hours after head coach J.B. Bickerstaff signed a multi-year extension.
The Cavaliers trimmed the deficit to 105-103 with 38.3 seconds to go after Drummond tipped in a shot, but Chicago hung on thanks to a pair of free throws by Shaquille Harrison and another free throw by Carter.
An 11-2 run gave Chicago a 94-85 lead with 6:54 to go. Porter converted a three-point play to unlock an 83-83 tie, and Valentine buried a 3-pointer on the next Bulls’ possession to fuel the decisive run. Carter added a layup and Tomas Satoransky knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Bulls momentum down the stretch.
The score was tied at 78 entering the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by White gave the Bulls a 76-69 advantage with 2:43 to go in the third quarter. It was the second long-distance shot of the game for the rookie from North Carolina, who boosted his 3-point total to 133 for the season.
The Cavaliers finished the third quarter on a 9-2 run to erase the deficit. Alfonzo McKinnie started the rally with a dunk off an assist from Nance, and Drummond followed with back-to-back baskets on a layup and a tip-in shot.
Nance and McKinnie combined for three free throws in the final 34.4 seconds of the period as Cleveland closed the gap.
Chicago held a 54-52 halftime lead.
The second quarter included a 2:04 stretch in which neither team scored a point. The Cavaliers missed five consecutive shots during the drought, and the Bulls missed three in a row before White finally made a basket to even the score at 35 with 7:22 remaining.
—Field Level Media