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Chicago Bulls

Bulls benefit as James sits with strep, beat Cavs, 117-99

Chicago Bulls' Nikola Mirotic (44) and Jimmy Butler (21) celebrate late in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Chicago Bulls' Nikola Mirotic (44) and Jimmy Butler (21) celebrate late in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND – Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.

James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn't sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star – they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.

The Bulls have won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James' absence to win its fourth straight overall.

Wade was 9 of 18 from the field and had 10 assists with eight rebounds. Butler had 18 points, including 13 in the third quarter, to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 34 points, hitting 13 of 25 from the field. Kyle Korver scored 14 points before limping to the locker room after taking a hard fall late in the fourth quarter.

Butler didn't score until hitting a 3-pointer late in the second quarter. The game was tied nine times and featured 10 lead changes in the first half. The Bulls pulled away from a 65-all tie midway through the third quarter and used an 11-0 run to gain control.

The Cavaliers have lost seven straight without James, dating back to March 16 of last season when they beat Dallas.

James remained home for Saturday morning's shootaround, and Lue announced about 90 minutes before tip-off that he wouldn't play. Lue confirmed James had strep throat after the game. James is averaging 25.7 points per game.

The Bulls had seven players in double figures. Rajon Rondo scored 15 points and Nikola Mirotic added 14.

James Jones scored 14 points for the Cavaliers, also playing without the injured Kevin Love and J.R. Smith.

TIP-INS

Bulls: G Michael Carter-Williams didn't make the trip after injuring his knee Friday against Phoenix. Coach Fred Hoiberg said he was unclear about a timetable for Carter-Williams' return. Jerian Grant started in place of Williams. ... G Cameron Payne, acquired from Oklahoma City before the trade deadline, scored six points in his team debut.

Cavaliers: Richard Jefferson started for James and scored nine points. ... Korver moved into fifth place on the career 3-pointers list (2,015). ... F Tristan Thompson, not known for his outside shooting, hit a 20-footer as the shot clock expired in the second quarter.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host Denver on Tuesday. The Bulls have an 18-11 record at the United Center this season.

Cavaliers: Host Milwaukee on Monday. Cleveland is 2-1 against the Bucks this season.

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