CHICAGO (AP) — LeBron James scored 36 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 114-108 in overtime on Friday night.
James was at his best after struggling the previous night, scoring eight points in the extra period, and the Cavaliers picked up the win the after opening with a loss at home to New York.
Derrick Rose scored 20 points for Chicago, but his first meaningful home game in about a year was spoiled by a sprained left ankle and a dominant performance by the Cavaliers’ megastar. Rose, sidelined for most of the past two seasons by knee injuries, came up hobbling in the first half and headed to the locker room in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland rallied from five down in the closing minute of regulation after blowing a nine-point lead to start the fourth quarter.
James took over in OT, flipping in a wild reverse layup and scoring Cleveland’s first eight points in the extra period.
The Cavaliers were still clinging to a 106-104 lead after Kirk Hinrich hit two free throws with 46.8 seconds left. But Tristan Thompson iced it moments later with a hard dunk after rebounding James’ jumper to make it a four-point game with 24 seconds left. Thompson tied franchise record with 12 offensive rebounds.
James, back with the Cavaliers after leading Miami to two championships, dominated after a rough opener.
He eight rebounds and three turnovers after going 5 of 15 from the floor and coughing the ball up eight times against the Knicks.
Thompson, who was hoping to land a contract extension before the deadline, finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Kevin Love added 16 points and 16 rebounds for Cleveland.
For Chicago, Hinrich came on strong down the stretch to finish with 20 points. Pau Gasol scored 15 and Mike Dunleavy Jr. added 14 points.
Cavaliers: Although the terms weren’t clear, Cleveland signed Anderson Varejao to a contract extension on Friday and prevented its center from becoming a free agent this summer. The 32-year-old Varejao, in his 11th season with the Cavaliers, came into Friday’s game with career averages of 7.8 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Bulls: G Jimmy Butler appeared headed to restricted free agency. While he was still hopeful an agreement on a contract extension could be reached before Friday’s deadline, his agent said negotiations were finished. Butler also missed his second game because of a sprained thumb.