This Time, Bulls Stop Clippers in Overtime
The Bull-market surge that has developed here dealt the Clippers’ recently rising stock a setback Tuesday night, courtesy of one of the hottest commodities of all, Michael Jordan.
Held in check when the teams met Nov. 23 in Los Angeles, Jordan broke loose for his first triple-double of the season, getting 41 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Clippers, 126-121, in overtime before a crowd of 17,858 at Chicago Stadium.
It was the sixth win in the last eight games for Chicago, which had lost its first meeting with the Clippers, 105-97.
It was the 13th loss in the last 17 tries for the Clippers, dropping them to 10-19 overall in the Pacific Division standings. They’re 2-15 on the road, with 4 games left on this trip.
What made this one tough is that the Clippers were primed for a takeover at the end.
On a night when neither team had more than a 6-point lead, the Clippers had the ball with 25 seconds left and the score tied, 111-111, in regulation. They called time out to set up one shot. Norm Nixon dribbled as the clock ran down, looking for Danny Manning in the low post, only to find Manning covered.
So Nixon went to Joe Wolf, Jordan’s former college teammate. Wolf was called for traveling with 4 seconds left, meaning the Clippers wasted an opportunity for so much as a shot.
“He traveled,” Jordan said. “I hate to see a North Carolina man travel, but he traveled. It gave us a break.”
It was one the Bulls, who also had a triple-double from Scottie Pippen (15 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds), didn’t waste. In the 5-minute overtime, they outscored the Clippers, 15-10, as Craig Hodges, the former Clipper from Cal State Long Beach scored 7 of his 19 points.
“It’s disappointing,” said Ken Norman, the Clipper forward who grew up 4 blocks from Chicago Stadium and had 27 points and 13 rebounds, with about 50 friends and relatives looking on. “But you can’t blame the game on that one play (Wolf’s travel). We lost the game over 53 minutes.”
The Clippers were actually given a couple of chances for the win, albeit a slight one the second time around. After the final horn sounded, the referees called everyone back when it was discovered that Jordan made 2 free throws he never should have attempted.
The Bulls were not in the bonus when Norman fouled Jordan with 18 seconds left in overtime. No one realized that, however, until after the game.
Both teams returned to the bench. Eighteen seconds were put back on the clock; Jordan lost the 2 free throws; the Bulls were given the ball out of bounds, and the Clippers had another chance to win.
The change only benefited Hodges, who was fouled and sank 1 free throw with 17 seconds left.
Like Norman, Clipper guard Quintin Dailey also had a successful homecoming, getting a team-high 33 points and a career-best 12 assists. Thirteen of his points came in the first quarter.
“I like it when they booed me a little bit (at the start),” said Dailey, the Bulls’ top draft choice in 1982. “It got me going.”
Jordan, who had 26 points in the season’s first meeting with the Clippers, didn’t face nearly the same defensive pressure this time. Tom Garrick and Gary Grant, who did much of the bird-dogging against him in Los Angeles, played 0 and 15 minutes, respectively.
Jordan noticed the difference as much as anyone.
“What really made them a better team last time was Grant and Garrick,” he said. “They kept the pressure on me and the other guards, and neither one really got in the game tonight. We didn’t have as much trouble with their traps and their pressure.”
Rookie forward Charles Smith missed a game for the 10th time this season, this time with the flu. He is expected to join the team today in Milwaukee but is listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Bucks. . . . Greg Kite left the game in the first quarter with what was first thought to be a broken right cheekbone but later diagnosed at a local hospital as a bad bruise on the cheekbone with blood in the sinuses. The Clippers still suspect a fracture and asked for further tests. Kite is expected to be in Milwaukee today.