Published — Thursday 8 November 2012
Last update 8 November 2012 7:21 am
CHICAGO: The Orlando Magic took its first loss since trading away star center Dwight Howard, unable to resist a second-half surge by the Chicago Bulls in their 99-93 victory on Tuesday.
Chicago's Luol Deng scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half and combined with Nate Robinson to key a 15-2 second-half burst that turned a five-point deficit into an eight-point lead. Robinson hit two straight jumpers to put the Bulls ahead 74-70 early in the fourth quarter.
Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 28 points, 19 in the second half.
Orlando had started the season 2-0 after trading Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Oklahoma City Thunder barely had to break a sweat to beat the Toronto Raptors 108-88, with the final margin flattering the visitors, who were down by 29 points before the Thunder rested its starters.
Russell Westbrook, wearing a black padded sleeve to protect his bruised left shoulder, had 19 points and held Toronto's leading scorer, Kyle Lowry, to two points on 1-of-4 shooting before Lowry exited late in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain.
Serge Ibaka added 17 points for Oklahoma City.
Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 18 points.
In the other game on election day in America, the Denver Nuggets held off the Detroit Pistons to win 109-97, thanks chiefly to Andre Iguodala scoring six of his 17 points over the final 3 minutes.
The Nuggets broke out their new canary yellow uniforms for their home opener and their play was equally bright, especially late in the third quarter when they began opening up a 17-point lead. The Pistons rallied late, before Iguodala closed the door.
Greg Monroe scored 27 points for the Pistons, who dropped their fourth straight. Detroit and Washington are the only winless teams in the NBA.
Meantime, New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for public comments criticizing the league's concussion policy.
Williams made the comments Saturday night in Chicago before the Hornets faced the Bulls with first overall draft pick Anthony Davis sidelined by a mild concussion.
Williams blasted the NBA's protocols for determining when a player can return from a concussion, saying, "Now, they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now."
Also, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Blake was fined $25,000 on Tuesday for "directing inappropriate language" at a courtside fan, the National Basketball Association (NBA) said.
Blake's remarks toward the fan occurred with 29.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 105-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last Friday at the Staples Center.
The nine-year NBA veteran hit two of six shots and had eight points and three turnovers before fouling out and arguing with a man in the first row.