CHICAGO – Derrick Rose had 16 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a right hamstring injury, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away from the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 96-81 victory on Monday night.
Rose grimaced after he drove down the lane for a twisting layup with 3:39 left. He remained in the game for a short time before he was pulled for Kirk Hinrich, and a trainer then attended to the 2011 NBA MVP at the end of the bench.
"It's just a minor sprain," Rose said. "Nothing bad."
Rose will be re-evaluated today, and he said he thought he would be able to play Friday night at Toronto.
Carlos Boozer scored 17 points and reserve Mike Dunleavy Jr. added a season-high 16 for Chicago, which went 24 for 26 at the free-throw line. Luol Deng finished with 12 points.
Kyrie Irving had 16 points for Cleveland, but was 5 for 19 from the field in his first game against Rose. The Cavaliers committed 20 turnovers, leading to 29 points for the Bulls.
"When we hit adversity tonight we didn't handle it well," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "They took us out of what we wanted to do."
Chicago opened a 13-point lead on Boozer's fadeaway jumper with 8:08 left in the third, but Cleveland slowly whittled away at the advantage. Irving made a jumper for his first field goal, and Tyler Zeller had a rebound basket in his first action of the game, trimming the Bulls' lead to 64-60 entering the final period.
It was a one-point game early in the fourth before the Bulls started to take control. Dunleavy had seven points during a 9-1 run that made it 87-76 with 2:10 remaining.
Dunleavy then had a steal and a pass ahead to Deng for a fast-break dunk that extended the lead to 91-77 lead with 1:07 left.
"We had some chances to break it open, early on, each quarter," Dunleavy said. "They just hung in there. Fortunately in the fourth, we were able to pull away."
Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum had 11 points and six rebounds in his first start since April 22, 2012, for the Lakers against Oklahoma City. Anderson Varejao was in the lineup about a half-hour before the game, but it was Bynum on the floor for the tip-off.
Bynum missed all of last season with Philadelphia due to surgery on both knees and signed with Cleveland in July. The 7-footer played 21 minutes in his longest stint on the court since joining the Cavs.
Rose was selected No. 1 overall in the 2008 draft and won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Irving pulled off the same feat in 2012, but the dynamic point guards had never played against each other in the pros. Rose missed all of last season following left knee surgery, and Irving also has dealt with some injuries.
Irving's 39 points in a 127-125 double-overtime victory against Philadelphia on Saturday night only increased the hype for his first matchup with Rose, but their initial meeting was pretty much a dud, at least as far the individual duel was concerned.
Irving was scoreless until he made two free throws with 1:36 left in the first half and missed his first six shots. Rose also had a slow start, going 3 for 9 in the first half for six points.
At least Irving took care of the ball. Cleveland committed 12 turnovers in an ugly first half, leading to 17 points for Chicago.