The Chicago Bulls handed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers just their seventh loss of the season with a 102-93 overtime win on Thursday.
Luol Deng scored 22 points to propel the Bulls to an upset victory as the home team ended the game on a 19-6 run to improve their season record to 18-22.
Chicago outscored Cleveland 15-6 in overtime.
The Cavaliers (30-7) entered the game with the best winning percentage in the NBA but faded down the stretch, James suffering a rare off night, shooting 8-for-26 from the floor.
“This was my worst game of the season,” said James, who finished with 28 points while playing with a cold.
“I was sick, and when I get sick I miss layups and put-backs,” he said
“It’s tough out there when you can’t breathe. But they did a good job defensively on me,” he said.
James clanged a jumper off the rim as time expired in regulation, allowing the Bulls to avoid a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Cavs.
Chicago scored 12 of the first 13 points in overtime and coasted from there, to the delight of the 21,297 fans on hand.
“We did a good job on LeBron,” Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I thought we contested him well. We got a hand up, we double-teamed him, we switched on him, we trapped him, we forced him to his left, to his right. That’s what you have to do to him.”
The Cavaliers suffered another injury as guard Delonte West fractured his right wrist in a collision with Derrick Rose in the first quarter.
He also suffered a cut above his left eye that required two stitches.
“They told me I’m going to be out a few weeks,” West said.
The Cavs were already without forward Ben Wallace, who missed the game with the flu while center Zydrunas Ilgauskas is not expected back for several weeks.
James added 14 rebounds and seven assists but also committed eight turnovers. Mo Williams had 26 points for the Cavs.
Rose added 16 points and Tyrus Thomas scored 15 points for the Bulls, who improved to 13-7 at home.
NUGGETS 119, SUNS 113
Chauncey Billups scored five of his game-high 26 points in overtime as the Denver Nuggets edged the Phoenix Suns 119-113 in the NBA on Thursday.
Nene had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Kenyon Martin had 24 points, including a clinching 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in overtime.
Martin also had eight rebounds and a career-high seven steals for Denver, which has won seven of its past eight games to open a buffer atop the Northwest Division.
Grant Hill scored a season-high 25 points and Steve Nash had 20 points and 14 assists for the Suns, who played without center Shaquille O’Neal. Phoenix coach Terry Porter said it was a “routine” night off for O’Neal.
TRAIL BLAZERS 105, NETS 99
In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Brandon Roy scored 29 points to lead Portland over New Jersey, snapping the Nets’ season-high four-game winning streak.
Rookie Jerryd Bayless added a career-high 23 for the Trail Blazers, who rallied from an 11-point deficit.