The Bulls threw off a two-point deficit to start the final period with consecutive three-pointers from Coby White and Derrick Jones Jr, before White netted his second three-pointer minutes later and Chicago charged to victory.
James was ejected early in the third after he drew blood when he hit Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart in the face, with Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook forced to carry their team home 121-116.
The LA Clippers snapped a two-game losing run with a 97-91 victory over their Western Conference rivals the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.
After going to the half down by one point, Paul George and Reggie Jackson exploded with a combined 20 points for the hosts to lead by nine at the end of the third quarter.
There were also respective victories for the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns, who are first and second in the West, over the Toronto Raptors and the short-handed Denver Nuggets.