April 5, 1996 in Sports

Bulls Keep Record Intact, Inch Closer To Win Mark

Associated Press
 

NBA

The Chicago Bulls will reach the NBA Finals if they simply keep winning where they haven’t lost all season.

The Bulls clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference on Thursday, receiving 40 points from Michael Jordan, a career-high 34 from Toni Kukoc and 12 rebounds from a well-behaved Dennis Rodman in a 100-92 victory over the visiting Miami Heat.

“It’s a step closer toward what we’re trying to achieve,” said Jordan, whose Bulls are 37-0 at the United Center this season and 44-0 here since last March. “All we have to do is defend our home court.”

Chicago beat Miami for the second time in three nights, dropping the Heat into a tie with Charlotte for the conference’s final playoff spot. The Bulls visit Charlotte today and play host to the Hornets on Monday.

“I hope they do the same thing to Charlotte that they did to us,” Miami coach Pat Riley said.

If Miami makes the playoffs, it almost surely will face Chicago. The Heat are 5-25 all-time against the Bulls, but did hand them one of their eight losses this season.

“Do I want to play them? Do I? You bet,” said Miami center Alonzo Mourning, who had 19 points and nine rebounds even though he sat out much of the second half in foul trouble. “Coach Riley will have us ready.”

The Bulls need to win six of their final 10 games to reach an NBA-record 70 victories. They figure to be able to do that, especially if Rodman stays out of trouble.

It was the redheaded rebounder’s first home game after serving a six-game suspension for butting referee Ted Bernhardt. Even though Bernhardt was one of the officials Thursday, Rodman played well and without incident.

Jordan, who had called Rodman selfish for getting suspended, defended his teammate Thursday: “I think he showed his maturity. I don’t think he had one outburst. He proved a lot to people who are looking for him to fall by the wayside. We have to give him that trust and tonight he proved worthy of that trust. He’s doing fine. Leave him alone.”

Miami (92) - Williams 7-14 1-2 20, Thomas 0-4 0-0 0, Mourning 7-10 5-8 19, Chapman 7-16 2-2 16, Hardaway 7-17 5-6 20, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Gatling 7-10 2-2 16, Askins 0-3 0-0 0, Corbin 0-0 0-0 0, King 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 35-75 16-22 92.

Chicago (100) - Pippen 2-11 3-4 7, Kukoc 12-21 7-8 34, Wennington 3-8 0-0 6, Harper 0-3 2-2 2, Jordan 13-24 13-16 40, Rodman 2-6 0-0 4, Kerr 2-5 1-2 5, Salley 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Buechler 0-1 0-0 0, Caffey 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 34-81 28-34 100.

Miami 25 23 25 19 - 92

Chicago 24 21 34 21 - 100

3-Point goals-Miami 6-25 (Williams 5-9, Hardaway 1-7, Askins 0-2, Chapman 0-7), Chicago 4-18 (Kukoc 3-9, Jordan 1-4, Harper 0-1, Kerr 0-2, Pippen 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Miami 49 (Mourning, Gatling 9), Chicago 50 (Rodman 12). Assists-Miami 18 (Hardaway 9), Chicago 22 (Pippen 8). Total fouls-Miami 29, Chicago 28. A-23,702 (21,771).

Suns 107, Jazz 100

Phoenix

Kevin Johnson scored 18 of his 31 in a lopsided first half and then helped Phoenix avert a fourth-quarter collapse on the way to defeating Utah.

The win was the sixth straight at home for the Suns and moved them ahead of idle Portland for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

Utah, losing its third game in a row for the first time since November 1994, trailed 59-38 late in the first half and 85-73 entering the fourth period.

Utah (100) - Benoit 5-9 0-0 10, Malone 6-18 5-6 17, Spencer 0-2 0-0 0, Hornacek 9-14 4-4 23, Stockton 5-14 5-6 17, Ostertag 2-4 0-0 4, Eisley 2-3 0-0 4, Foster 0-1 0-0 0, Carr 3-5 3-4 9, Keefe 1-3 4-5 6, Morris 5-7 0-1 10, Russell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 38-81 21-26 100.

Phoenix (107) - Finley 7-13 2-3 17, Barkley 3-12 9-9 15, Williams 3-4 4-6 10, Person 7-16 6-8 22, Johnson 11-18 9-10 31, Manning 2-6 1-1 5, Green 1-1 0-0 2, Perry 1-3 0-0 2, Tisdale 1-2 1-1 3. Totals 36-75 32-38 107.

Utah 23 25 25 27 - 100

Phoenix 31 30 24 22 - 107

3-Point goals-Utah 3-14 (Stockton 2-6, Hornacek 1-2, Carr 0-1, Morris 0-1, Russell 0-1, Benoit 0-3), Phoenix 3-11 (Person 2-6, Finley 1-3, Johnson 0-1, Perry 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Utah 47 (Benoit, Keefe 8), Phoenix 46 (Barkley, Person 11). Assists-Utah 26 (Stockton 16), Phoenix 22 (Johnson 10). Total fouls-Utah 29, Phoenix 21. Technicals- Carr, Manning, Barkley, Phoenix illegal defense 2. A-19,023 (19,023).

Celtics 100, Magic 98

Orlando, Fla.

David Wesley’s jumper with less than a second remaining gave Boston its victory over Orlando, which blew a 19-point second-half lead without Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway.

O’Neal missed his second straight game because of the death of his grandmother, and Hardaway was ejected late in the first half after taunting Boston’s Pervis Ellison and picking up a second technical foul for arguing the call.

Boston (100) - Fox 8-18 0-0 16, Williams 1-6 1-2 3, Lister 1-1 3-4 5, Minor 7-11 0-0 14, Wesley 9-11 1-3 22, Brown 6-10 1-2 15, Ellison 6-9 1-3 13, Day 1-9 2-2 4, Barros 3-8 0-0 8. Totals 42-83 9-16 100.

Orlando (98) - Scott 6-14 2-2 17, Grant 8-13 8-10 24, Koncak 1-2 2-2 4, Anderson 9-19 4-4 23, Hardaway 7-11 1-2 15, Wolf 1-3 0-0 2, Shaw 1-7 0-0 2, Bowie 3-4 0-0 6, Royal 1-2 1-1 3, Thompson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 38-77 18-21 98.

Boston 24 19 30 27 - 100

Orlando 31 22 30 15 - 98

3-Point goals-Boston 7-21 (Wesley 3-3, Barros 2-4, Brown 2-6, Minor 0-1, Fox 0-3, Day 0-4), Orlando 4-10 (Scott 3-5, Anderson 1-3, Shaw 0-1, Thompson 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Boston 39 (Ellison, Wesley 7), Orlando 51 (Grant 17). Assists-Boston 26 (Brown 6), Orlando 23 (Shaw, Scott 8). Total fouls-Boston 19, Orlando 15. Technicals-Hardaway 2. Ejections-Hardaway. A-17,248 (17,248).

Cavaliers 98, Raptors 77

Toronto

Dan Majerle and Terrell Brandon each scored 19 as Cleveland beat injury-plagued Toronto, which had just nine healthy players.

Cleveland (98) - Mills 6-10 4-4 16, Ferry 3-9 0-0 7, Cage 0-2 0-0 0, Phills 8-12 1-3 18, Brandon 6-16 6-6 19, Hill 2-2 0-0 4, Majerle 6-12 2-2 19, Lang 1-5 0-0 2, Sura 3-6 2-3 8, Crotty 0-0 3-3 3, Marshall 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 35-76 20-23 98.

Toronto (77) - Murray 5-17 0-0 10, Whitfield 4-9 8-10 16, Rogers 7-12 0-0 14, Robertson 1-3 0-0 2, Christie 3-13 1-2 8, Earl 3-8 0-0 6, King 3-8 3-6 9, Esposito 3-5 0-0 7, Lewis 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 31-78 13-20 77.

Cleveland 23 29 20 26 - 98

Toronto 19 10 23 25 - 77

3-Point goals-Cleveland 8-20 (Majerle 5-10, Phills 1-2, Brandon 1-3, Ferry 1-3, Sura 0-1, Marshall 0-1), Toronto 2-9 (Esposito 1-3, Christie 1-3, Murray 0-1, Rogers 0-1, Earl 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Cleveland 46 (Mills 10), Toronto 52 (Whitfield 12). Assists-Cleveland 21 (Brandon 6), Toronto 16 (King 6). Total fouls-Cleveland 23, Toronto 21. Technicals-Rogers. A-21,173 (22,911).

Warriors 98, Nuggets 90

Oakland, Calif.

Latrell Sprewell scored 22 and Joe Smith added 19 as Golden State beat Denver to stop a four-game losing streak and revive its playoff chances.

Denver (90) - L.Ellis 3-12 5-6 11, McDyess 4-16 3-3 11, Mutombo 5-8 2-2 12, Rose 3-6 0-0 6, Stith 9-16 3-6 24, D.Ellis 6-12 3-4 19, Overton 0-2 0-0 0, MacLean 1-7 2-2 5, Grant 0-0 0-0 0, Fish 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-80 18-23 90.

Golden State (98) - Kersey 4-7 0-0 8, Smith 7-18 5-7 19, Willis 3-10 4-5 10, Armstrong 3-9 8-9 15, Sprewell 8-18 6-7 22, Coles 6-9 4-4 18, Marshall 2-3 0-0 4, DeClercq 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 34-76 27-32 98.

Denver 17 26 15 32 - 90

Golden State 24 27 24 23 - 98

3-Point goals-Denver 8-16 (D.Ellis 4-6, Stith 3-5, MacLean 1-3, L.Ellis 0-1, Overton 0-1), Golden State 3-8 (Coles 2-3, Armstrong 1-2, Kersey 0-1, Sprewell 0-1, Marshall 0-1). Fouled out-L.Ellis. Rebounds-Denver 57 (L.Ellis, McDyess 10), Golden State 43 (Smith 13). Assists-Denver 21 (Rose 6), Golden State 21 (Sprewell 9). Total fouls-Denver 27, Golden State 19. Technicals-Mutomobo. Flagrant fouls-Kersey. A-15,025 (15,025).

Bullets 113, Hawks 110

Atlanta

Washington scored the final 12 points, including two free throws by Brent Price with 10 seconds remaining, to beat Atlanta.

Price was fouled by Christian Laettner on a drive to the basket, and his foul shots gave the Bullets a 112-110 lead. After Mookie Blaylock missed a 3-pointer for the Hawks, Bob McCann hit 1 of 2 free throws for the final margin.

Washington (113) - Cheaney 6-11 2-2 14, Howard 10-20 3-4 23, Muresan 6-7 2-4 14, Eackles 6-9 0-0 13, B.Price 8-11 3-3 22, Legler 4-6 4-4 15, McIlvaine 1-3 0-0 2, McCann 0-1 1-2 1, Whitney 2-3 5-5 9. Totals 43-71 20-24 113.

Atlanta (110) - Augmon 3-12 2-2 8, Long 8-17 0-0 18, Laettner 10-16 8-10 28, Smith 4-9 3-3 12, Blaylock 6-10 0-0 15, Ehlo 5-13 3-4 14, Henderson 1-3 7-8 9, Jordan 2-3 2-5 6. Totals 39-83 25-32 110.

Washington 26 27 33 27 - 113

Atlanta 27 39 29 15 - 110

3-Point goals-Washington 7-10 (Legler 3-3, B.Price 3-5, Eackles 1-1, Whitney 0-1), Atlanta 7-19 (Blaylock 3-4, Long 2-3, Smith 1-3, Ehlo 1-8, Augmon 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Washington 42 (Howard 9), Atlanta 41 (Long 9). Assists-Washington 24 (B.Price 11), Atlanta 27 (Smith 8). Total fouls-Washington 22, Atlanta 17. A-10,322 (16,378).

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