June 10, 1996 in Nation/World

Sonics Near Final Resting Place

New York Times
 

A team destined for greatness needs just one victory to secure its place in history.

Showing their superiority by building a stunning 22-point first-quarter lead, the Chicago Bulls overwhelmed the Seattle SuperSonics on Sunday, 108-86, at KeyArena to take a lead of three games to none in their National Basketball Association championship series. The Bulls can win their fourth title in six years with a victory here Wednesday night.

No team ever has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win the NBA Finals, and for Seattle to win four consecutive games against the Bulls would take a miracle.

Led by Michael Jordan, who scored 27 of his 36 points in the first half, the Bulls played at a different level than the Sonics.

From the opening tip, the Sonics were overmatched. After 4-1/2 minutes, the Bulls had a 13-2 lead, and they never looked back.

An incredible first half by the Bulls ended with Chicago leading, 62-38. The Bulls dominated and demoralized the Sonics, who never imagined being embarrassed this badly on their home floor.

The terrible start was exactly what Seattle wanted to avoid. It killed the momentum generated by the crowd, which was ready to roar from the opening tip. KeyArena is one of the loudest in the league, but for long stretches, Seattle’s fans simply sat and watched in horror.

The Sonics deserved credit for coming back in the third quarter. But it was too little, too late.

And with the Bulls in position to sweep Wednesday, Chicago fans are looking for their brooms.

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