Luol Deng scored 21 points and blocked Kobe Bryant’s short shot right before the buzzer as the Bulls hung on for a thrilling finish to both clubs’ first Christmas meeting.
Bryant scored 28 points and committed eight turnovers while playing with a torn wrist ligament for the Lakers, who nearly shook off their tumultuous preseason for a surprising win. Instead, Los Angeles was outscored 17-5 in the final 3:36.
Deng scored nine points in the fourth quarter for the Bulls, including a three-point play and two free throws in the final 45 seconds as Chicago snapped a five-game road losing streak against the Lakers.
Carlos Boozer had 15 points for the Bulls, who have designs on a championship run after leading the NBA with 62 regular-season victories last season.
KNICKS 106, CELTICS 104
In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points, including a pair of free throws with the game tied and 16 seconds left, and New York survived a seesaw season opener to beat Boston.
Amare Stoudemire added 21 points and Toney Douglas had 19 for the Knicks, who led by 17 in the first half, trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, then pulled out a thrilling Christmas victory in the delayed opener to the 2011-12 season.
Rajon Rondo had 31 points and 13 assists, nearly leading the Celtics back without an injured Paul Pierce. But Kevin Garnett missed a jumper just before the buzzer, the kind of shot Boston always seems to make against the Knicks.
Brandon Bass had 20 points and 11 rebounds in his Celtics debut, and Ray Allen added 20 points.
Garnett finished with 15 points. He and Allen had a sleepy Christmas start, with Rondo keeping the Celtics in the game until they got going in the second half.
THUNDER 97, MAGIC 89
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 30 points to help Oklahoma City win its season opener over Orlando.
Durant led the league in scoring the past two seasons, including averaging 27.7 last season. On Sunday, he was 11 of 19 from the field and added five rebounds.
James Harden added 19 points and the Thunder held Orlando star Dwight Howard to just 11 points.
The Thunder lost to Dallas last year in the Western Conference finals but are expected to one of the top teams this season.
Meanwhile, the Magic looked like a team that was still dealing with the distraction of Howard and his trade demands.