Basketball

Bulls make hay while LeBron sits

Chicago - LeBron James watched from the sideline, nursing some bumps and bruises, and Antawn Jamison might be joining him there.

For a team with championship aspirations, the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking a little vulnerable.

Derrick Rose scored 24 points, Kirk Hinrich had 23 and the Chicago Bulls gave their playoff hopes a big boost by surviving some shaky free-throw shooting down the stretch to beat the Cavaliers, 109-108, with James on the sideline Thursday night.

“It’s a big win,” Hinrich said. “We definitely needed it. We let a lot of opportunities slip by and it just feels good to take advantage of it.”

The Bulls moved into an eighth-place tie with Toronto in the Eastern Conference with one more meeting between the teams. Although the Raptors already own the tiebreaker, Chris Bosh is out with an injury.

Whoever comes out ahead figures to meet Cleveland in the first round, no easy task no matter how banged up the Cavaliers are. While James sat for precautionary reasons, Jamison suffered a bruised right foot while scoring 23 points, and both are questionable for today’s game against Indiana.

Throw in Shaquille O’Neal’s thumb injury, and the league’s top team isn’t exactly a picture of health.

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