The Bulls kicked off their season and the trek by roaring back from an 11- point deficit with under four minutes to go in an exciting 88-87 comeback win over the LA Lakers on Christmas Day.
Chicago scored the final seven points Sunday, as Luol Deng came up with several big defensive plays and Derrick Rose got a tough one-handed runner to fall in the closing seconds, giving the Bulls the thrilling victory.
Kobe Bryant gave Los Angeles an 87-81 lead on a fadeaway baseline jumper with 54.6 seconds left. Deng was short on a three-pointer at the other end, but followed his miss and attacked the basket, getting a layup to fall while being fouled. Deng made the ensuing free throw and two more at the stripe after a Bryant miss to pull the Chicago within 87-86 with 20.4 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Deng stole Bryant's entry pass to Pau Gasol, setting the stage for the reigning MVP's heroics. Rose answered the call by taking Derek Fisher off the dribble, then contorted his body around the seven-foot Gasol in the lane while getting his runner to fall through with 4.8 seconds remaining.
"It was really a floater, that's something that I'm used to doing if I'm going to my right hand. They let me get to my right hand and that's how it got up," Rose said of the game-winning shot.
Bryant had one last chance to steal the win, but his drive was met by a trio of defenders at the baseline, and Deng's block as the buzzer sounded sealed the dramatic win.
Rose finished with 22 points and Deng added 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Bulls, who saw little roster turnover following an Eastern Conference-best 62-20 regular season that ultimately saw them lose in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat.
Chicago will also visit Sacramento and the LA Clippers before returning to the Windy City for their home opener against Memphis on New Year's Day.
The Warriors weren't as lucky on Christmas as Chris Paul paid immediate dividends for the Clippers. Acquired in a trade from New Orleans earlier this month, Paul scored 20 points, dished out nine assists, and hit three big shots late in the fourth quarter, as the Clips downed Golden State, 105-86, to spoil the head coaching debut of Mark Jackson.
David Lee scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds before fouling out for the Warriors, who have missed out on the playoffs each of the last four seasons. Stephen Curry, hampered by an ankle injury, went just 2-of-12 from the field and had four points.
The Warriors shot 39 percent from the field, but the big problem was the turnovers by their backcourt. Monta Ellis and Curry combined for nine of the team's 16 turnovers.
"It's really not the shooting, it's careless turnovers," Jackson said. "We did not take care of the basketball. You can miss shots, but you can't give teams opportunities to push the ball in transition because you're careless."
These two teams split the home-and-home series a year ago with each club holding serve on its home floor.