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11.01.2006

Chicago Bulls beat Miami Heat in season opener

The NBA new season has begun, and the surprises already came up to light. In Miami, the Heats were showing their championship rings, and everything was perfect for them. But the game was not meant to be for the local team.

In the end, Kirk Hinrich scored 26 points, Chris Duhon added 20 and the Chicago Bulls emphatically ruined Miami's celebratory mood, defeating the defending NBA champion Heat 108-66 in Tuesday first game.

"Welcome back to reality," Heat coach Pat Riley admitted outloud. "Obviously, it was absolutely one-sided. There isn't really much to say, other than we do know, and there has been a gauge put on how much work we have to do."

In fact,this was -- by far -- 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 on Oct. 29, 1982. The LA Lakers went on to win 58 games that season and return to the NBA Finals under Riley.

Chicago Bulls seized command with a 37-14 second-quarter burst, a stretch in which the Bulls connected on 79 percent of their shots -- compared with 29 percent for Miami, which never got rolling. The lead was 59-30 at halftime and kept growing.

"I'd be saying the same thing if we got beat. I'd say it's one match," Bulls coach Scott Skiles expressed. "We have all the respect in the world for them, and they have something that we eventually want to get. This one game is not indicative, I don't think, in any way of what kind of season they are going to have."

It's important to know that before the game, Hinrich and the Bulls agreed on a five-year extension, the maximum length allowed under league rules. The deal, which starts next season, is believed to be worth about $47.5 million.