Chicago, IL – Dion Waiters scored 25 points and the Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers held off the Chicago Bulls, 101-98.
Shaun Livingston added 15 points for the Cavaliers, who snapped an 11-game skid against Chicago. Wayne Ellington and Alonzo Gee tallied 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Irving missed Tuesday's game due to a sore/hyperextended right knee. He is listed as day-to-day. Cleveland was also without Daniel Gibson (personal reasons).
"It was a good win. Some guys came in and did some good things with Kyrie out of the game," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. "We knew it was going to be tough."
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng had 27 and 26 points, respectively, for the Bulls, who have lost two in a row. Kirk Hinrich donated 11 points and 11 assists in his return to the lineup.
Trailing by seven, 93-86, with 4:46 to play, the Bulls went on a 6-0 spurt to make things interesting. Boozer's layup and floater around Gee's turnover cut the gap to three. Hinrich added an 18-foot jumper to get Chicago within 93-92 with 2:57 left.
Waiters responded with a jumper of his own to put the Cavaliers ahead by three. Deng and Boozer missed shots on the ensuing Chicago possession.
Livingston kept Cleveland's next possession alive with an offensive rebound off Gee's miss. Luke Walton then made a 20-foot jumper to give the visitors a 97-92 edge with 1:21 remaining.
Deng and Jimmy Butler each made two foul shots around Tristan Thompson's free throw to get the Bulls within two, 98-96.
After each team missed a shot, Livingston made two free throws to give the Cavaliers a 100-96 lead with 15.8 seconds to go. Chicago turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound pass, and Waiters went 1-of-2 from the line to seal Cleveland's victory.
"We have to keep grinding and get back on track. In the NBA every team is tough and there are no guaranteed wins," Hinrich said. "They played hard and they played well. We need to get back to where we were and start finishing games and make no excuses."
The first three quarters featured 19 lead changes and seven ties, with the Cavaliers taking a 75-71 edge into the fourth.
Holding an 81-78 lead with 8:52 to play, Cleveland went on a 6-0 spurt to create some distance. Waiters made a jumper and a layup before Tyler Zeller's score gave Cleveland an 87-78 margin.
Chicago was aiming for its third straight series sweep of Cleveland after taking the previous three meetings of the season ... The Bulls opened a three- game homestand on Tuesday ... Chicago forward Taj Gibson is expected to miss at least two weeks with a knee injury ... Hinrich returned to the lineup after missing three consecutive games with a lingering right elbow issue.