James hopes to continue his success against the Bulls while trying to help the Cleveland Cavaliers to a fourth straight win overall as they attempt to avoid a third consecutive loss at Chicago on Saturday night.
The Cleveland superstar scored a season-high 41 points - including 14 in the third quarter - of a 107-93 home win over Chicago on Wednesday in the Central Division rivals’ first meeting of the season.
James, who shot 56.6 percent (13-for-23) and added nine rebounds and six assists in that contest—is averaging 37.2 points on 52.3-percent shooting in his last six games versus Chicago. He’s posted a 31.0-point average in 10 career games at the United Center.
“LeBron is LeBron,” first-year Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We tried all kinds of different things with him. When he gets around the basket, he’s so powerful.”
James, who bounced back from a dismal seven-point first-half effort to finish with 27 as the Cavaliers (4-2) rallied for a 111-107 home victory over Indiana on Friday, hopes to help the Cavaliers hand Chicago its first loss at the United Center this season.
Ben Gordon had 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting and rookie Derrick Rose added 18 with six assists as the Bulls (3-3) improved to 3-0 at home with a 100-83 win over Phoenix on Friday. Gordon, the team’s leading scorer at 18.5 points per game, had 31 on 11-for-19 shooting against Cleveland.
Rose, the Chicago native averaging 17.8 points, had 20 and seven assists in his first game against James and the Cavaliers.
“He’s an amazing player,” said Rose of James. “I’ve watched him on television so many times. We could have done a better job guarding him.”’
Chicago, however, can’t direct all its attention to James. Anderson Varejao added a career-high 18 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, versus Indiana as Cleveland overcame a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit by scoring 40 points in the final period.
“When the ball comes to him, he’s ready for it,” James said of Varejao, a reserve forward who scored seven straight points in the fourth. “He made some great plays.”
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Chicago, had 17 points Friday for Cleveland, which is averaging 106.0 points during its three-game winning streak.
The Bulls, who have won three of their last four home games versus the Cavaliers, shot a season-high 51.9 percent against Phoenix, while reaching the 100-point mark for the first time since a 108-95 season-opening win over Milwaukee. Chicago is shooting 46.5 percent at the United Center, compared to a dismal 37.8 on the road.
“At times, the lineup will change,” Del Negro said. “We have guys who understand their roles.”
It’s uncertain if Hinrich, coming off his first start of the season, will be able to play after leaving that contest in the second half with a sprained thumb. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.