By ANDREW SELIGMAN | AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points, Nikola Vucevic added 31 points and 15 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls overcame a sluggish start to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 106-101 on Saturday night.
Tied with Cleveland for second place in the Eastern Conference coming in, the Bulls turned things around after falling behind by 14 points in the second quarter. They made enough baskets down the stretch to come away with their third straight win.
DeRozan set a career high with his sixth straight 30-point game. The All-Star scored nine over the final five minutes.
Vucevic made 14 of 25 shots, though he also committed six turnovers. Coby White scored 16 and made four 3-pointers, helping the Bulls pull out the win, even though Zach LaVine missed the game because of a sore left knee. The All-Star struggled in Friday’s win over Minnesota, and his status for the two remaining games before the All-Star break is in question.
Lu Dort led Oklahoma City with 31 points. Rookie Josh Giddey added 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double. Darius Bazley scored 17 as the Thunder lost their fifth straight.
The Thunder led 90-89 when Chicago went on an 8-0 run to grab the lead for good.
White got the decisive rally started when he nailed a 3 to put the Bulls on top with 5:36 remaining, and a cutting Vucevic punctuated it when he dunked to make it 97-90 with 3:19 left.
The Thunder were within four when White hit a 3-pointer to bump the lead to 104-97 with 1:10 remaining, and the Bulls hung on from there.
Thunder: G Aaron Wiggins played 19 minutes after missing the previous five games because of a sprained right ankle. ... The Thunder held out C Derrick Favors after the veteran played 28 minutes against Philadelphia on Friday.
Bulls: Coach Billy Donovan said it’ll be up to LaVine and the team’s medical staff to decide if he will participate in the All-Star festivities in Cleveland next weekend. LaVine was picked for his second appearance in the game and is scheduled to compete in the 3-point contest. Donovan also said the back issue LaVine has dealt with in recent weeks is “pretty good” and “kinda resolved, under control.” ... F Derrick Jones Jr. played 23 minutes in his return from a broken right index finger. Jones had not played since he bruised his right knee against Brooklyn on Jan. 12. He broke his finger on his non-shooting hand two weeks later working out at the practice facility, and the team expected him to miss another six to eight weeks. “The healing process is gonna be six to eight weeks," Donovan said. “But him playing was really gonna be on how much discomfort he had to deal with and whether or not he could play with that discomfort.” ... F Javonte Green (sore right foot) missed the game.
Thunder: Visit New York on Monday.
Bulls: Host San Antonio on Monday.
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