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Bulls win for just third time in last 18 games

CHICAGO (AP) -- When it comes to winning, the Chicago Bulls aren't worried about style points.

Leading by 23 late in the third, the Bulls let their lead dwindle to single figures before regrouping to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-104 on Saturday night.

Jalen Rose led the Bulls with 27, and Jay Williams, who was in a minor traffic accident earlier in the day, scored six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.

The victory snapped a nine-game losing streak for the Bulls, who won for only the third time in their last 18 games.

"I'd be lying if I said it doesn't feel good,'' Rose said with a smile. "I don't know if I've lost nine in a row in anything I do, from playing basketball to video games to pool.''

Despite blowing their big lead, the Bulls played one of their
better games. They had four players in double figures, and shot 57
percent from the floor. They outrebounded the Cavs 35-31, and
dominated them in the paint 58-38.

But again, they couldn't maintain their focus for an entire
game. Cleveland mounted a furious comeback behind Ricky Davis, who
scored 23 of his 27 in the second half.

It wouldn't be enough, though, as the Cavaliers dropped their
11th straight on the road.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas led the Cavs with 28, and Dajuan Wagner added
18.

"This is a teaching year,'' Cavs coach John Lucas said. "There are a lot of kids. This league stands for 'No Boys Allowed,' so they have to keep learning.''

The Cavs snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 111-101 victory
over the Bulls on Wednesday night in Cleveland, a loss Marshall
called the team's "most embarrassing.'' But blowing this one would
have been even worse.

When Williams scored on back-to-back dunks -- the second off his own steal -- with 3:01 left in the third, the Bulls had an 87-64 lead and seemed to be in complete control.

Or maybe not.

After making just two field goals in the first six minutes, Cleveland came alive with a 25-10 run that spanned the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters.

"I came out and we were up 23. I wondered if this was going to be the first game where I could ice early,'' Williams said. "I swear it was only a split-second and we were up 12. Then eight.''

Smush Parker started the run, making a 3-pointer to close out
the quarter. Tyrone Hill converted a three-point play to start the
fourth, Davis made a fallaway jumper and Hill tipped in a miss.

Ilgauskas then made a pair of free throws, and the Bulls'
23-point lead was down to 93-85 with 8:51 to play.

The Bulls pushed the lead back to double figures, but Cleveland
made one more run. Ilgauskas converted on a three-point play, then
Davis stole the ball from Trenton Hassell on the other end of the
court.

Davis scored on a fastbreak dunk, pulling Cleveland within
102-96 with 4:57 left.

"Our defense picked up and we had them trying to hit tough
shots,'' Carlos Boozer said. "We tried to put pressure on them and
see if they would crack at the end. Give them credit, they hung in
there.''

The Bulls finally pulled it together after a timeout. Williams
made a running jumper, and Rose scored on a finger-roll to give
Chicago a 106-96 lead with 2:45 left. Cleveland never threatened
again.

"We needed this game really bad,'' Rose said. "I can't imagine
waking up tomorrow with another loss to Cleveland. No offense to
them, but at the same time, they're a team struggling and two
losses to them in the same week would have been devastating for our
team's character.''

Game notes
Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak to the
Cavaliers. ... Bulls C Tyson Chandler, out of the starting lineup
again with a strained back, scored eight points in 20 minutes. ...
It was the first time in four games that Wagner failed to lead the
Cavs in scoring. He's still averaging 25.8 points over the last
five games. ... The Cavs scored 100-plus points in back-to-back
games for the first time this season.