Shaq came back, and the Los Angeles Lakers immediately got better.
Shaquille O'Neal had 17 points and seven rebounds in his season debut last night while playing 21 minutes of the Lakers' 86-73 victory over the visiting Chicago Bulls.
O'Neal, coming back from September toe surgery, brought the sellout crowd to its feet with a spectacular jump, catch and dunk off a lob from Rick Fox to give Los Angeles a 75-65 lead with 5 minutes 10 seconds remaining.
Kobe Bryant scored 21 points for Los Angeles, which ended a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in the last nine games.
The three-time NBA defending champions had struggled without O'Neal, stumbling to a 3-9 start and falling into the Pacific Division cellar.
Donyell Marshall had 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Tyson Chandler had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who lost their fourth straight.
O'Neal didn't start, but came off the bench to a standing ovation in the first quarter. Fans began chanting "We want Shaq!" three minutes into the game.
The Lakers are 49-43 in games without O'Neal since he came to Los Angeles in 1996.
* PACERS 106, MAGIC 70: Ron Artest scored 15 points and held NBA scoring leader Tracy McGrady 20 points under his average as Indiana, playing at home, improved to 10-1, the best start in franchise history.
The Pacers started out 9-1 in 1969-70 in the old American Basketball Association.
With Grant Hill missing his second game in a week because of a sore ankle, the Magic had four early turnovers and missed their first 11 shots before a basket by McGrady almost six minutes into the first quarter. By then, Indiana's lead was 10-2.
McGrady, who came in with a 33.2 average, scored 13 points.
* CELTICS 105, HAWKS 98: Paul Pierce scored 36 points, including four straight in the second overtime to give Boston the lead for good at home.
The teams went into the second overtime tied at 94 after Pierce was unable to convert on a drive to the basket with one second left in the first overtime. Tony Battie gave the Celtics a 96-94 lead, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim tied it before Pierce hit back-to-back shots to put the Celtics up to stay.
Boston's Antoine Walker had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his 12th career triple-double. Glenn Robinson scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds for the Hawks.
* NETS 120, CAVALIERS 79: Kenyon Martin had 21 points and 10 rebounds and New Jersey made 14 of its first 15 shots en route to crushing visiting Cleveland.
Jason Kidd scored 11 of his 16 points in the first quarter, in which the Nets shot 80 percent to take a 37-22 lead.
Smush Parker had 18 points and Carlos Boozer added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, losers of nine in a row.
* BUCKS 95, WARRIORS 91: In Oakland, Calif., Ray Allen scored 31 points and hit a key three-pointer down the stretch to lift Milwaukee.
The Bucks scored seven of the game's final eight points. Erick Dampier scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Golden State.
* 76ERS 90, RAPTORS 80: Allen Iverson scored 31 points and Keith Van Horn added 13 points and 10 rebounds to help Philadelphia improve to 7-0 at home.
Antonio Davis had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto.
* KINGS 118, SUNS 101: Bobby Jackson scored 24 points to lead six players in double figures as Sacramento won its fourth straight and improved to 7-0 at home.
Chris Webber added 21 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists for the Kings. Stephon Marbury scored 39 points for Phoenix.
* PISTONS 75, HEAT 72: In Miami, Richard Hamilton scored 17 points and Ben Wallace pulled down a season-high 22 rebounds for Detroit.
Corliss Williamson put the Pistons ahead 73-72 on a short jumper with 1:02 left, and he followed that with another basket near the hoop for a 75-72 lead with 14 seconds to go.
* SPURS 95, GRIZZLIES 86: In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 28 points and 15 rebounds as the Spurs beat the Grizzlies for the 21st straight time.
Mike Batiste came off the bench for Memphis (0-13) to score 18 points, all in the fourth quarter.
* HORNETS 105, KNICKS 97: Jamal Mashburn scored 25 points and Jamaal Magloire and P.J. Brown each scored 20 as New Orleans won in overtime to remain unbeaten at home.
Brown had 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, while Magloire grabbed 11 for his second straight double-double.
Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston led New York with 23 points each.
* NUGGETS 72, CLIPPERS 70: In Denver, James Posey hit an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer to lift the Nuggets.
Juwan Howard scored 18 and Posey had 16. Donnell Harvey added six of his 12 points in the fourth quarter for the Nuggets, who rallied from 16 points down to tie the game at 68.