Updated at: 11/11/2013 10:35 PM
By JAY COHEN
(AP) CHICAGO - The Chicago Bulls were in the process of pulling away from the Cleveland Cavaliers when the game was robbed of any real significance.
Derrick Rose was sitting at the end of Chicago’s bench, and he was being attended to by a trainer.
The sight of a grimacing Rose made for a tense scene at the United Center, but the dynamic point guard said it was just a minor right hamstring injury that led to his departure in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s 96-81 victory on Monday night.
"It’s nothing big at all," said Rose, who missed all of last season while recovering from left knee surgery. "I’m still able to walk around, move around the way I want to. Just a little sore."
Rose winced after he drove down the lane for a twisting layup with 3:39 left. He remained in the game for a short time before coach Tom Thibodeau called for a timeout to put in Kirk Hinrich.
"He tweaked it. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow," Thibodeau said. "We’ll have more information then, but it appears to be minor."
Rose, who also has been bothered by neck stiffness this season, had 16 points and seven assists. He said he thinks he will be able to play Friday night at Toronto.
Carlos Boozer scored 17 points and reserve Mike Dunleavy Jr. added a season-high 15 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. Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Dion Waiters scored 13.
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.
"Still limited minutes, other than that I think my time on the court was pretty good," Bynum said. "First half was kind of bad, but then second half picked up a little bit."
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 star guards had never played against each other in the pros. Rose was on the sideline last season, and Irving also has dealt with some injuries.
"Utmost respect for him," Irving said. "Just a pleasure to go against a great player like that."
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. Waiters had four of the miscues, helping the Bulls to a 45-36 lead at the break.
NOTES: Cleveland dropped to 0-5 on the road. ... Chicago won three of four games against Cleveland last season. The Bulls have won the season series against the Cavs for three straight years. ... Duke plays Kansas on Tuesday night at the United Center, so Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski brought his team to the game. Thibodeau also worked with Krzyzewski with USA Basketball. "He’s a fantastic leader. Just terrific," Thibodeau said. "To achieve the way he’s achieved throughout his career, that’s the mark of greatness."
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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