Created: 11/30/2013 8:35 PM
(AP) CLEVELAND - Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters each scored 20 points, and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a late rally by the Chicago Bulls for a 97-93 victory Saturday night.
Bynum, who said earlier in the season he was contemplating retirement as he attempts a comeback from surgery on both knees, had his best all-around game of the season. The 7-footer was 8 of 14 from the field, blocked five shots and had six rebounds.
Cleveland, which had lost five straight and eight of nine, built a 12-point lead in fourth quarter, but the Bulls rallied for an 88-87 edge on Tony Snell’s basket with 3:59 remaining.
Bynum’s jumper put Cleveland ahead again with 3:35 left, and Kyrie Irving scored after stealing the ball from Kirk Hinrich. Waiters converted another turnover into a layup to put the Cavaliers ahead 93-88 with 2:09 to play.
Waiters scored again to give Cleveland a seven-point lead, but Luol Deng’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 95-91.
Carlos Boozer’s basket with 40 seconds left cut the lead to 95-93. Following a miss by Bynum, the Bulls called timeout with 17 seconds remaining. Deng drove to the basket but his shot rolled off the rim and the Bulls missed three tip-in attempts.
Tristan Thompson grabbed the rebound and made two free throws with 9 seconds remaining sealed the win.
Deng scored 27 points for the Bulls, who finished 1-5 on their road trip in which they lost point guard Derrick Rose for the season with a knee injury.
Irving added 19 points for Cleveland.
Trailing 82-70, the Bulls went on an 18-5 run and took the lead on Snell’s shot, but the Cavaliers made more plays down the stretch.
The Bulls played their fourth game without Rose, who had surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee last week after getting hurt Nov. 22 in Portland.
Chicago also was blown out by 39 points by the Los Angeles Clippers and lost in overtime to Utah during the trip. The Bulls ended a four-game losing streak with Friday’s 99-79 win at Detroit.
Cleveland led by five points at halftime, but started the third period with a 15-5 run to lead 71-56 midway through the quarter.
Chicago had won 12 of its last 13 games against Cleveland, including a 96-81 home victory on Nov. 11, but the Cavaliers scored the game’s first seven points, forcing Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to use a 20-second timeout at the 10:38 mark. The Cavaliers scored 27 points and were 11 of 18 from the field in the first quarter after being held to 10 points in the opening period Friday in a 103-86 loss at Boston.
The Bulls survived Cleveland’s strong start and took their first lead less than a minute into the second period. The game was tied nine times in the quarter and Cleveland led 56-51 at halftime. The Cavaliers, who usually struggle offensively, shot 59 percent in the half.
Snell and Taj Gibson each scored 18 points for Chicago.
NOTES: Bynum blocked consecutive shots on the same possession by Joakim Noah in the first quarter. ... Thibodeau was given a technical foul by official Nick Buchert in the second quarter. ... Cavaliers G C.J. Miles, who missed four games with a pulled right calf, returned to Cleveland’s starting lineup and scored six points. ... Cleveland F Earl Clark (flu) was inactive. ... Bulls G Jimmy Butler (right toe) is traveling with the team, but there’s no timetable for his return. ... Chicago plays its first home game since Nov. 18 on Monday against New Orleans, the first of four straight games at the United Center. ... The Cavaliers don’t play again until Wednesday when Denver visits.