The Chicago Bulls stunned reigning champions the Miami Heat
108-66 while the Los Angeles Lakers toppled the Pheonix Suns
114-106 in the opening games of the NBA season Tuesday evening.
Kirk Hinrich, who signed a five-year contract extension hours
before tip-off, scored 26 points and Chris Duhon added 20 to spoil
Miami celebration after the Heat players received their
championship rings hours ago on the home court.
It was the worst loss in NBA history for a defending champion on
opening night. The previous low was the Los Angeles Lakers' 132-117
defeat to Golden State in 1982.
Chicago took a 37-14 burst in the second quarter to control the
game as the Bulls made 79 percent of their shots, while Heat only
had 29 percent.
Dwyane Wade had 25 points before sitting out much of the fourth
quarter for Miami who turned the ball over 23 times, and were
Shaquille O'Neal had seven points and five rebounds before
sitting out the final 14:01.
At Los Angeles, Lamar Odom sparked a comeback as Kobe Bryant sat
out due to soreness in his right knee. Bryant underwent
arthroscopic surgery in mid-July, and missed the Lakers' eight
exhibition games. He said he hoped to return this weekend.
The Lakers outscored the Suns by 27 after falling behind 39-20
in the first quarter.
Odom matched his career high with 34 points to go with 13
rebounds and six assists. 19-year-old Andrew Bynum had career-high
totals of 18 points and nine rebounds, and Maurice Evans added 17
points in his first game for the Lakers.
The Lakers shot 55.4 percent and outrebounded Phoenix 43-29.
Suns reserve Leandro Barbosa scored a career-high 30 points.
Shawn Marion had 16 points and seven rebounds and Steve Nash had 15
points and 13 assists for the Suns.
(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)