CLEVELAND (AP) — Collin Sexton scored 30 points and Darius Garland added 25 as the Cleveland Cavaliers never trailed in a 121-105 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, snapping a five-game home losing streak.
Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff was not at the game for personal reasons, but is expected to return to the bench Friday. Assistant coach Greg Buckner filled in for his longtime friend and colleague.
Kevin Love added 15 points and nine rebounds for Cleveland, which built its largest lead of the season at 94-61 in the third quarter on its way to its first victory at home in a month.
Lauri Markkanen scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and Thaddeus Young had 14 points and eight rebounds for Chicago. The Bulls entered the night tied with Washington for the final play-in tournament spot in the East, while the Cavaliers were four games back.
Chicago pulled within 112-97 on a Denzel Valentine layup with 5:33 remaining, but Cleveland scored the next five points to end the threat. Larry Nance Jr. and Isaiah Hartenstein finished with 10 points apiece for the Cavaliers, who forced 20 turnovers and scored 23 points off them.
Coby White had 14 points and six assists, and Tomas Satoransky scored 13 points off the bench for Chicago. Zach LaVine — the sixth-leading scorer in the NBA at 27.5 points — missed his fourth straight game because of the league’s health and safety protocols.
Love’s third 3-pointer of the opening half gave the Cavaliers a 25-point advantage midway through the second at 47-22. Cleveland went into the break up 61-44.
Sexton scored 10 points and Garland added seven in the first as Cleveland seized a 34-12 lead. Nikola Vucevic scored six points for Chicago, which had seven turnovers, six field goals and no free throw attempts.