CHICAGO: LeBron James started the overtime session Friday just as he started the game: in charge and on the attack. As a result, the Cavaliers survived a fourth-quarter collapse to win their first game of the season in an early season matchup against what should be their biggest rival in the East.



James scored 36 points, including the Cavs’ first eight in overtime in their 114-108 victory against the Chicago Bulls at United Center. He received a huge assist from Tristan Thompson, who grabbed four offensive rebounds in the overtime session alone.



Thompson followed his fourth with a dunk, giving the Cavs a 108-104 lead with 24 seconds left. Thompson 16 points and 13 rebounds off the bench. Twelve of his 13 rebounds were offensive.



The win washed away the lingering residue from Thursday’s disappointing home-opening loss against the Knicks, but it didn’t come without a fight.



The Cavs carried a 78-69 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Bulls took the lead on a layup from Aaron Brooks with 6:44 to play, their first lead since late in the first quarter.



The Cavs went nearly four minutes without a field goal late in the game and Kirk Hinrich scored eight points in the game’s final two minutes. They did it all without Derrick Rose, who had 20 points and four assists, but missed the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle. He departed with 2:38 left in the third quarter and did not return.



Both teams had a chance to win it in the final seconds of regulation and failed. Hinrich air balled a 3-pointer for a shot clock violation, giving the Cavs possession with 3.9 seconds left.



James inbounded to Love and wanted it back, but was denied. Instead Love forced up a long jumper that hit off the back of the iron to force overtime tied at 98.



After a miserable performance Thursday that included a 5-for-15 shooting night and eight turnovers, James came out firing to start the game. He took 10 shots in the first quarter, more than double anyone else on the team, and ended the first half with 19 points on 9-for-17 shooting.



“The good thing about our sport is you’re able to do better the next night very fast,” James said. “Obviously I’d be very upset with myself if I was a ballplayer that got one game a week. We have the opportunity to go out and perform better the next night.”



That was true of most everyone affiliated with the Cavs. After burning out the starters on Thursday (James and Irving each played 43 minutes), coach David Blatt made a concerted effort to better balance his rotation.



Shawn Marion and Mike Miller, who played sparingly against the Knicks, both entered the game in the first quarter Friday.



“(Thursday) was a particular kind of game. We really needed to win that first home game and perhaps we played it in a way that reflected that,” Blatt said. “But ultimately it didn’t bring the desired result and we underplayed a few guys and perhaps overplayed a few guys. That’s why I said it was on me.”



Kevin Love missed nine of his first 10 shots and still finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Kyrie Irving had 23 points and three assists.



These are expected to be the top two teams in the East all season and James continues to sing the Bulls’ praises. Prior to their preseason meeting a couple weeks ago, James called them the better team because of their chemistry and history together. He reiterated that before Friday’s game.



“They are a better team than us right now,” James said.