LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Chicago Bulls upstaged LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and league MVP Stephen Curry got his new campaign off to an emphatic start as the 2015-16 NBA season got under way.
With President Barack Obama among a delighted Chicago crowd, the Bulls toppled the Cavaliers 97-95 on Tuesday in a thrilling opening night duel.
Derrick Rose finished with 18 points and five assists, as four of the Bulls’ five starters finished in double figures.
”I love our effort tonight. Who knows how good this team can be?” said Bulls guard Rose. ”My teammates allowed me to play through my mistakes.”
Curry became the first reigning MVP in history to score 40 or more points on opening night as the Golden State Warriors began their title defense by thumping the New Orleans Pelicans 111-95. In the other contest, the Detroit Pistons dumped the Atlanta Hawks 106-94.
There was a moment of silence before the games in honor of Flip Saunders. The Minnesota Timberwolves coach and team president passed away on Sunday after battling cancer.
The only Chicago starter that didn’t shoot in double figures was Pau Gasol, but the Spaniard made his presence known with six blocks including a key denial of Cavaliers talisman James with three seconds left that helped secure the victory.