CHICAGO (AP) — Coby White scored 20 points to help offset a career-high nine turnovers in his first NBA start, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-103 on Tuesday night.
The Bulls won their 22nd game to match their total from last season, though they didn’t think it would take this long. They expected to make a bigger jump sooner in the Eastern Conference.
One bright spot lately is White, the number seven overall draft pick. The rookie turned in his ninth straight game with at least 19 points.
“I thought he competed,” coach Jim Boylen said. “He was on (Collin) Sexton a lot. That guy’s a hard guy to guard. He’s fast, he’s strong. I thought Coby was a two-way player tonight. I thought he showed his burst. … That looked like Steve Francis. That’s how Steve Francis used to do it — that burst.”
White was “excited” to start. “It was fun,” he said. “It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to start in the NBA.”
Wendell Carter Jr chipped in with 17 points. Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine and Otto Porter Jr each scored 15. Shaquille Harrison grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Bulls outrebounded the Cavaliers 46-35 and made 12 three-pointers in holding off the Eastern Conference’s last-place team. And they won for just the third time in 16 games, even though leading scorer Zach LaVine missed his fifth in a row because of a strained left quadriceps.
The Cavaliers announced a multiyear extension for coach JB Bickerstaff on Tuesday, then fell to 5-6 since he took over following John Beilein’s resignation 54 games into his first season.