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LeBron James scored 34 points, Kevin Love added 27 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their 12th straight home game, 115-112 over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night as injured point guard Isaiah Thomas moved even closer to his return.
 
James had 11 points in the fourth quarter and dropped a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds left as the Cavs won for the 19th time in 21 games and ended Chicago's seven-game winning streak.
 
With Cleveland's Jae Crowder guarding him closely, Chicago's Denzel Valentine was short with a tying 3-pointer in the final second.
 
Dwyane Wade had three steals and two blocks in the fourth quarter for Cleveland, which improved to 3-0 against the Bulls this season.
 
Rookie Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points, Valentine had 18 and Nikola Mirotic 15 for the Bulls, who lost for the first time since Dec. 6. Chicago's win streak followed a 10-game losing skid.
 
The Bulls battled back from a 10-point deficit early in the fourth and were within four at 111-107 when James, who has been so clutch in the fourth quarter all season, sank a fadeaway baseline jumper. Chicago pulled to 113-112 on Valentine's layup before James made his two free throws and Cleveland got the key defensive stop to end it.
 
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue missed the game with an undisclosed illness. Assistant coach Larry Drew filled in for Lue, who conducted his usual media session about 90 minutes before tip-off and was in Cleveland's locker room before the team announced he was sick.
 
That wasn't the only news during a hectic pregame for the Cavs as starting guard J.R. Smith was a late scratch with a sore left knee and Thomas took the floor dressed in his uniform and participated in pregame warmups with his teammates for the first time since arriving in Cleveland.
 
Earlier in the day, Thomas was assigned to the Cavs' Canton G-League affiliate so he could practice and take part in a full-court scrimmage. There's still no definitive date for Thomas to make his debut with Cleveland, but he's closer than ever.
 
Lue did rule Thomas out of Monday's Christmas Day marquee matchup with Golden State, but it's possible the 28-year-old All-Star, who was acquired this summer in a blockbuster trade with Boston, could play next week when the team plays at Sacramento and Utah.
 
The Bulls continue three-game trip at Boston on Saturday. Chicago beat the Celtics 108-85 at home on Dec. 11.

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