Chicago, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, had lost six of seven and was coming off a 19-point loss to NBA-worst Orlando. Zach LaVine, who had been out since Jan. 14 with a bruised left knee, was happy to provide a spark.
LaVine scored 23 in his return, Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls withstood a fierce rally by Oklahoma City to beat the Thunder 111-110 on Monday night.
“It felt good,” LaVine said. “I got tired of just sitting at home watching. I’m about as healthy as I can get, but it just sucks sitting at home and not being able to help.”
The Bulls led by 28 points in the third quarter, but the Thunder had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds. Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed a 3-pointer that would have evened the score with 2.3 seconds to play.
The Bulls were short-handed. DeMar DeRozan, who averages 26.3 points per game, rested. Lonzo Ball was out with a bruised left knee and Alex Caruso missed the game with a fractured wrist suffered when Milwaukee’s Grayson Allen yanked him to the ground.