CHICAGO — LeBron James could sense the Cleveland Cavaliers were starting to click the last time they lost. But a streak like this? He wasn’t about to say he saw that coming.
Dwyane Wade and Kevin Love each scored 24 points, James had 23 and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 113-91 Monday night for their 12th straight win.
Backed by a trio of stars, the Cavaliers matched their longest winning streak since the 2014-15 season. They dropped a tight game at Houston on Nov. 9 and haven’t lost since. The streak started with wins at Dallas, New York and Charlotte.
“I’m not Nostradamus so I did not see the streak,” James said. “But in the Houston game, I’d seen the way we played in that game. And I’d seen that if we could build off that game, then we can kind of turn the things around. That was a great road trip for us.”
Wade made 9 of 13 shots in his first game in Chicago since agreeing to a buyout with his hometown team in September.
Love grabbed 13 rebounds and made 8-of-13 from the field. James finished 9-of-15 with seven rebounds and six assists. The Cavaliers shot just under 52 percent.
Kris Dunn led Chicago with 15 points. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday scored 14 apiece as the Bulls fell to 3-19 with their ninth straight loss.
“When the lights turn on, for whatever reason, when things get tough, we stop doing the things that make us a solid team, that make us a team that gets a good shot,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We stop running the offense and go back and try to get it all on our own. We can’t do that. We have to keep playing together on both sides of the ball. ... Everybody has to be on the same page out there and we had too many breakdowns again.”
More honors for LeBron
James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday for games from Nov. 27 through Sunday. In four games, he averaged 27.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks in 34.0 minutes. He had a double-double in all four games and shot .597 from the field, .368 from 3-point range and .800 from the line.
This is the first player of the week award for James this season but his NBA-record 58th in all.
The matchup between the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions and the team with the NBA’s worst record went as expected.
Third in the league in scoring coming into the game, the Cavaliers grabbed a 61-45 halftime lead.
James scored 15 in the half, driving hard and hitting from the perimeter while Wade chipped in with 12 points.
James’ jumper from up top in the closing seconds of the first quarter sparked a 13-0 run that broke open a five-point game. Wade scored six points during that stretch, helping Cleveland bump its lead to 40-22.
Love had 10 of his team’s first 13 points in the third as Cleveland increased it to 74-50. And the Cavaliers remained in control the rest of the way.
Hoiberg said the Bulls will decide after today’s practice if forward Nikola Mirotic will travel with the team to Indiana. Even if Mirotic goes, Hoiberg said it “might be a stretch” for him to make his season debut against the Pacers on Wednesday.
The Bulls play at Charlotte on Friday and host New York on Saturday. Mirotic has been sidelined since Oct. 17, when he suffered two facial fractures and a concussion in an altercation at practice with forward Bobby Portis.
“This is a good one to come here for me and play well, but our team is the most important thing. So, no statements. No story lines.” — Wade on returning to Chicago.
Cavaliers: With Wade leading the way, Cleveland’s reserves outscored Chicago’s 49-28.
** Love, Jae Crowder (nine points) and James combined to make 8 of 17 3-pointers. The rest of the team was 5-of-19.
** The Cavaliers also beat the Bulls on Oct. 24.
** Love has 16 double-doubles.
Bulls: Bulls opponents have scored 100 or more 16 times.
** Portis had 10 points and nine rebounds after missing a game because of a bruised right arm.
** Holiday hit three 3-pointers and has made at least two in 20 of the 21 games he has played.
Cavaliers: Host Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Bulls: Visit Indiana on Wednesday night.
Cavs 113, Bulls 91
CLEVELAND (113): James 9-15 3-4 23, Crowder 3-8 0-0 9, Love 8-13 5-5 24, Calderon 2-5 0-0 5, Smith 1-3 0-0 3, Green 6-10 1-1 14, Osman 0-2 0-0 0, Frye 1-3 0-0 2, Zizic 0-1 2-2 2, Wade 9-13 5-5 24, Korver 3-8 0-0 7. Totals 42-81 16-17 113.
CHICAGO (91): Valentine 3-7 0-0 7, Markkanen 5-13 2-2 13, Lopez 5-7 4-5 14, Dunn 6-13 1-3 15, Holiday 4-11 3-3 14, Zipser 0-4 0-0 0, Felicio 3-4 0-1 6, Portis 4-13 0-0 10, Grant 3-6 0-0 6, Felder 1-2 2-2 4, Pondexter 0-0 0-0 0, Nwaba 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 34-82 14-18 91.
Cleveland 29 32 25 27 — 113
Chicago 22 23 26 20 — 91
3-Point Goals—Cleveland 13-36 (Love 3-6, Crowder 3-7, James 2-4, Wade 1-2, Green 1-3, Calderon 1-3, Smith 1-3, Korver 1-5, Frye 0-1, Osman 0-2), Chicago 9-34 (Holiday 3-8, Dunn 2-4, Portis 2-6, Valentine 1-4, Markkanen 1-5, Nwaba 0-1, Felder 0-1, Grant 0-2, Zipser 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Cleveland 46 (Love 13), Chicago 43 (Portis 9). Assists—Cleveland 22 (James 6), Chicago 21 (Dunn 5). Total Fouls—Cleveland 13, Chicago 16. A—21,323 (20,917).