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Bulls slip by Cavs in opener

Nikola Mirotic, dribbling around the Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson, scores 19 in the Bulls’ 97-95 opening-night win.

Associated Press

Nikola Mirotic, dribbling around the Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson, scores 19 in the Bulls’ 97-95 opening-night win.

CHICAGO — Nikola Mirotic had 19 points and Derrick Rose added 18 to lead the Bulls to a season-opening 97-95 victory over LeBron James and the Cavaliers with President Barack Obama watching Tuesday night.

Pau Gasol blocked James' potential tying layup in the closing seconds. Jimmy Butler then broke up an inbounds pass intended for James as time expired.

The president sat courtside for most of the game as his beloved Bulls knocked off the defending Eastern Conference champions and gave coach Fred Hoiberg a narrow win in his first game.

James had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, but the Cavaliers came up short against the team they knocked out in the conference semifinals last season.

The Bulls, playing a more open offense with Hoiberg than they did under Tom Thibodeau, did not exactly light it up. But they came away with a promising win.

Rose, playing with a mask to protect his fractured left orbital, shot 8-of-22 after missing almost the entire preseason.

Mirotic sank three 3-pointers and came up big down the stretch.

Butler added 17 points and two steals to go with that deflected pass for Chicago.

The Cavaliers got 19 points and seven assists from Mo Williams, filling in while Kyrie Irving recovers from a fractured left kneecap. Kevin Love added 18 points and eight rebounds.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 21 points to lead all five Pistons starters in double figures, carrying Detroit to a 106-94 victory over the Hawks and ruining the home opener of the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference last season.

DONOVAN CALM: Former Gators coach Billy Donovan makes his NBA coaching debut tonight when he leads the Thunder against Gregg Popovich's Spurs.

Donovan said he's excited about the game and respects Popovich but he is focused on the process more than anything. He said he won't have any trouble sleeping the night before the opener.

"Eighty-two games is a lot of games," Donovan said. "Every game, at that moment in time, is going to be big. Right now, we're in October, it's the first game of the year."

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Timberwolves will wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys during the new season honoring team president and coach Flip Saunders. Saunders died Sunday of cancer. … Second-year point guard Elfrid Payton appears likely to play in the Magic's regular-season opener tonight against the Wizards. Payton missed the final five preseason games because of a sore right hamstring. … Pistons forward Anthony Tolliver flew back to Detroit after his wife went into labor. She gave birth to a daughter. … The Lakers plan to enter a float in the 127th Rose Parade. The team released an artist's rendering of the design of its first Rose Parade float.

Bulls 97, Cavaliers 95

CLEVELAND (95): James 12-22 0-3 25, Love 6-17 3-3 18, Mozgov 2-6 1-2 5, Williams 7-15 2-3 19, Smith 3-10 2-4 8, Jefferson 4-7 0-0 10, Thompson 1-4 0-0 2, Dellavedova 3-8 0-0 6, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Cunningham 0-2 0-0 0, Varejao 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 38-94 10-17 95.

CHICAGO (97): Snell 4-9 1-2 11, Mirotic 6-11 4-4 19, Gasol 1-7 0-0 2, Rose 8-22 2-4 18, Butler 6-14 5-5 17, Brooks 3-9 0-0 6, McDermott 3-4 1-2 8, Noah 0-0 0-2 0, Moore 5-8 0-0 11, Gibson 1-3 3-4 5. Totals 37-87 16-23 97.

Cleveland 17 23 28 27— 95

Chicago 26 20 25 26— 97

3-Point GoalsCleveland 9-29 (Love 3-7, Williams 3-7, Jefferson 2-4, James 1-5, Smith 0-2, Jones 0-2, Dellavedova 0-2), Chicago 7-19 (Mirotic 3-4, Snell 2-5, McDermott 1-2, Moore 1-2, Brooks 0-1, Gasol 0-1, Butler 0-2, Rose 0-2). Fouled OutGibson. ReboundsCleveland 62 (Thompson 12), Chicago 58 (Gibson 10). AssistsCleveland 26 (Williams 7), Chicago 13 (Rose 5). Total FoulsCleveland 21, Chicago 22. TechnicalsSmith. A21,957 (20,917).

Pistons 106, Hawks 94

DETROIT (106): Morris 6-19 5-6 18, Ilyasova 6-12 1-2 16, Drummond 6-16 6-10 18, Jackson 4-10 5-5 15, Caldwell-Pope 7-14 3-3 21, Johnson 3-10 0-0 7, Baynes 3-5 0-0 6, Blake 1-6 0-0 3, Meeks 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 37-96 20-26 106.

ATLANTA (94): Bazemore 0-3 0-0 0, Millsap 7-15 3-4 19, Horford 6-11 2-3 15, Teague 7-16 3-4 18, Korver 3-9 0-0 7, Sefolosha 1-3 0-0 2, Splitter 2-5 0-0 4, Patterson 1-1 2-2 5, Schroder 8-14 2-2 20, Muscala 0-1 0-0 0, Scott 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 37-82 12-15 94.

Detroit 25 23 34 24— 106

Atlanta 25 18 23 28— 94

3-Point GoalsDetroit 12-29 (Caldwell-Pope 4-7, Ilyasova 3-6, Jackson 2-4, Johnson 1-3, Morris 1-4, Blake 1-5), Atlanta 8-27 (Schroder 2-5, Millsap 2-6, Patterson 1-1, Horford 1-3, Teague 1-3, Korver 1-5, Sefolosha 0-1, Bazemore 0-1, Scott 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDetroit 69 (Drummond 19), Atlanta 44 (Millsap 8). AssistsDetroit 23 (Jackson 5), Atlanta 22 (Schroder, Teague, Horford 4). Total FoulsDetroit 15, Atlanta 25. A19,187 (18,729).

Bulls slip by Cavs in opener 10/27/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 11:21pm]
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