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NBA Playoffs : Jordan Gets 55 Points as Bulls Win, 106-101

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In what was only the second playoff game for most of them, the Cleveland Cavaliers played a tremendous game Sunday at Chicago.

There was only one problem--Michael Jordan. Nobody has devised a way to stop the 6-foot-6 star of the Chicago Bulls.

Jordan scored 55 points and made all the big plays in the closing minutes to lead Chicago to a 106-101 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Jordan, who scored 50 points Thursday night in the opener, became the first player in playoff history to post consecutive 50-point games.

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The Cavaliers, comprised mostly of rookies and second-year players, built a 15-point lead in a near-perfect first 15 minutes, then withstood challenge after challenge in the second half.

But, Jordan was too much. With the score tied, 98-98, and two minutes remaining, Jordan drove through the Cavalier defense along the baseline to score on a backhand layup. Mark Price sank a three-point shot and Cleveland was back on top, 101-100. Jordan never hesitated. He used a pick to sink an 18-foot jumper and, when Price missed, Jordan grabbed the rebound and was quickly fouled.

He sank both free throws for a three-point lead with 14 seconds left. Surprisingly, the Cavaliers didn’t even try for a tying bomb and when they missed from close range, the Bulls had a 2-0 lead.

In another Air Jordan spectacular, Jordan had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 blocked shot and 4 steals. He took 45 shots, but if he hadn’t taken so many, his team would not have won.

“I didn’t know anything about any record,” Jordan said. “We’re 2-0 instead of 0-2 because we’re playing as a team. I know I’m scoring, but I’m contributing to all parts of our game. Records don’t mean anything.”

Of the seven players the Cavaliers use when the game is on the line, only two of them, Mike Sanders and Larry Nance, have previous playoff experience. The two starting forwards were obtained late in the season from Phoenix.

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The Bulls’ second hard-earned victory did not discourage Price. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll beat them Tuesday night,” he said.

Seattle 111, Denver 91--With Michael Adams losing his touch on the bombs, the Nuggets, who closed the regular season as the hottest club in the league, were lucky to split the first two games at home in this best-of-five series.

They won the opener Friday night, as Adams went 0 for 6 from long range after making a three-pointer in 43 consecutive games, only because the SuperSonics missed four free throws in the final minute.

This time the SuperSonics took no chances. With Dale Ellis getting 22 of his 24 points in the first half, they jumped in front at the start, led by 25 at intermission and never let the Nuggets in the game.

“It would be dangerous for us to go home Tuesday if we are complacent,” Coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “This loss could be a revenge factor.”

The Nuggets won 15 of their last 16 games while Adams was tossing in bombs. In this game, he was 1 for 5 on three-pointers, while the team’s leaders, Alex English (6 for 18) and Fat Lever (5 for 20), couldn’t hit from any range. As a team, the Nuggets were 29 for 90 (32.2%).

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Boston 128, New York 102--A year ago as they struggled to win playoff games, the Celtics looked old and tired.

Now they look refreshed, rested and young.

The ever-pressing Knicks, led by everybody’s rookie of the year, Mark Jackson, were supposed to give the Celtics a tough fight in the opening round.

They did for awhile in the opener, but Larry Bird & Co. just toyed with the young Knicks in this one. Bird, who wound up with 36 points, made 5 of his first 7 shots and the Celtics had things their own way to move within a victory of a sweep. It could happen in New York Wednesday night.

Atlanta 104, Milwaukee 97--Dominique Wilkins scored 12 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter at Atlanta to hold the Bucks at bay and give the Hawks a 2-0 lead in the series.

After Wilkins scored on a jumper to give the Hawks an 88-84 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Bucks never got closer than three points.

The Bucks cut the lead to 100-97 on a layup by Jack Sikma with 18 seconds left, but when Sikma was called for a foul two seconds later, Milwaukee Coach Del Harris drew his second technical and was ejected.

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