CLEVELAND (AP) – Kevin Love had 17 points and 20 rebounds, Tristan Thompson scored 23 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Chicago Bulls 117-111 on Wednesday night.
Love’s basket on a goaltending call on Lauri Markkanen gave Cleveland a 91-90 lead early in the tightly played fourth quarter. His jumper from the left wing put the Cavaliers ahead 110-106 with just under a minute to play.
Collin Sexton, who sat most of the third quarter because of foul trouble, scored 10 points in the final eight minutes, including a dunk over Chicago center Wendell Carter Jr. following an assist from Love on Cleveland’s next possession.
Cleveland has split its first four games. The Cavaliers started 0-6 last season and didn’t get their second win until their 13th game.
Sexton had 18 points, a day after the Cavaliers exercised his third-year contract option. Love and Thompson, who had 10 rebounds, have had double-doubles in each of Cleveland’s four games.
Markkanen and Zach LaVine each scored 16 points for Chicago, which has lost three straight. Carter and Otto Porter Jr. added 15 apiece.
Cleveland’s first-year coach John Beilein’s goal to establish a homecourt advantage for his rebuilding team is off to a good start. The Cavaliers won their home opener over Indiana and rallied to beat the Bulls.
Chicago went on a 15-0 run to take a 21-11 lead in the first quarter, but Cleveland closed the deficit to 26-25. The Bulls pushed the lead back to double figures behind eight points from Markkanen. Cleveland cut into the lead again and the Bulls led 53-50 at halftime.
Sexton picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter and sat out most of the period. Cleveland hit five 3-pointers, including three by Cedi Osman. Jordan Clarkson was fouled while making a 3-pointer from the corner and converted the free throw.
Carter started and played 27 minutes. despite waking up in the morning with eye inflammation.
Bulls: F Chandler Hutchison (strained left hamstring), who is rehabilitating his injury with the G-League’s Windy City Bulls, will rejoin the team Thursday in order to gauge his progress. … C Cristiano Felicio was a healthy inactive for the fifth straight game. He is the only player on the roster not to play a minute this season.
Cavaliers: Love tied a franchise record for rebounds in a half with 16 in the first two quarters. … Rookie G Dylan Windler has increased his activity as he returns from a stress reaction in his lower left leg that occurred before training camp. Windler, taken with the 26th pick of the first round, is shooting and participating in on-court drills.
Bulls: Host Detroit on Friday. Chicago has only played once at home in its first five games this season.
Cavaliers: Travel to Indiana on Friday. Cleveland beat the Pacers 110-99 in its home opener Saturday.
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