LeBron James scored 25 points and barely missed a triple-double, Kevin Love added 15 points and 15 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked refreshed from the All-Star break with a 106-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
James had nine rebounds and nine assists in 35 minutes for the Cavs, who lost their first two matchups with Chicago this season. But the Bulls are broken, missing three key players because of injuries.
Cleveland has its sights set on finishing with the East's best record and earlier in the day the club acquired forward Channing Frye from Orlando in a three-team trade the Cavs hope can get them an NBA title. They had to part with popular center Anderson Varjeao and a future first-round pick to obtain Frye, who has not yet joined his new squad.
Derrick Rose scored 28 points and Pau Gasol had 14 for the Bulls, just 5-14 since they were a season-best 10 games over .500 on Jan. 9. Chicago is currently without Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah.
With the Bulls hanging around in the third quarter, James scored seven points during a 15-4 run capped by his dunk off a lob from J.R. Smith. James celebrated his latest highlight clip, which gave the Cavs a 17-point lead, with a dance that would have enraged Noah, who complained about similar theatrics by the four-time MVP in the past.
Love was aggressive inside all night in his first game since sustaining a shoulder stinger on Feb. 10.
The Bulls also were involved in a three-team trade before the NBA's 3 p.m. deadline, but it didn't involve Gasol.
Instead, Chicago sent veteran guard Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta for a future second-round pick and acquired guard Justin Holiday from Utah. The moves save the Bulls some luxury tax money but they certainly won't tilt the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.
There had been loud rumblings that Gasol would be dealt, but the veteran center is staying put and remains open to re-signing with the Bulls as a free agent this summer.
"Pau obviously is having a great year and he had a very good year last year," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "I love what Pau brings to this team -- he can get Jimmy (Butler) a lot of easy baskets by throwing the lob and his ability to play-make all over the floor. Obviously, all the other (contract) stuff will be handled in the offseason, but I love having him here."