Michael Jordan had 31 points and Scottie Pippen shook off shoulder problems to score 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 95-88, Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Richfield, Ohio.
"Everybody thought they were going to sweep us. We proved them wrong," Pippen said.
Cleveland won all six of its regular-season meetings with the Bulls, including a 90-84 season-ending victory Sunday in which three Cavalier starters were rested because of injuries.
"There was no pressure on us, and all the pressure was on them," said Jordan, who also had 11 assists. "We just stayed inside with our defense, kept the pressure on down there and helped out as much as possible."
Cavalier guard Mark Price was unable to play because of a pulled groin. The absence of his outside shooting proved to be Cleveland's undoing on offense.
Craig Ehlo led Cleveland with 19 points, and Larry Nance had 18.
Pippen made three three-point shots and Craig Hodges added another during a 30-11 Chicago run that increased the Bulls' lead to 77-53 late in the third quarter.
Detroit 101, Boston 91--Joe Dumars scored 25 points and John Salley blocked five shots as the Pistons held the Celtics to a record-tying 10 points in the opening game of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Auburn Hills, Mich.
Salley said a meeting with Isiah Thomas helped to prepare him for the playoffs.
"We had sort of a heart-to-heart talk last week," Salley said. "Isiah told me to grow up. He wanted to know if I had my head in my game.
"Isiah is my mentor. He told me we could be a great team if I played up to my ability. That really meant a lot to me."
The Pistons, who won three of four games between these teams during the regular season, outscored Boston, 21-10, in the second quarter, tying a playoff record set April 25, 1982, at Seattle when the SuperSonics limited Houston to 10 points.
Salley tied a club record with his five blocked shots during the quarter as the Pistons, who led 27-25 after one period, surged to a 15-point lead on a jumper by Dennis Rodman with 2:29 remaining in the half. It was 48-35 at halftime.
The Celtics--playing without Larry Bird, who missed the final 76 regular-season games after surgery Nov. 19 for bone spurs--got 27 points from Kevin McHale, 19 from Reggie Lewis and 18 from Robert Parish.
Seattle 111, Houston 107--Derrick McKey and Xavier McDaniel each made two free throws in the final 20 seconds as the SuperSonics defeated the Rockets in the opening game of their Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series at Seattle.
The Rockets led, 105-104, with 1:20 left after a three-point play by Akeem Olajuwon and a pair of baskets by Buck Johnson brought Houston back from a 104-98 deficit.
But Sedale Threatt, who came off the Seattle bench to score 22 points, made an 18-foot fall-away jumper with 1:01 remaining to put Seattle in front to stay at 106-105.
With 44 seconds left, Olajuwon was called for traveling as he went to the basket.
Two free throws by McKey with 20 seconds to go put Seattle in front, 108-105. Eric (Sleepy) Floyd dunked for Houston with 16 seconds left and immediately fouled McDaniel, who made both free throws with 15 seconds to play for a 110-107 Seattle lead.
Purvis Short missed a three-point shot with 12 seconds to go and Derrick Chievous rebounded for the Rockets, but had his shot blocked by Alton Lister, his eighth of the game.
Lister made a free throw with two seconds to go for the final point of the game.
Phoenix 104, Denver 103-- Tom Chambers made two free throws with three seconds remaining and rookie Dan Majerle made a game-saving steal as the Suns beat the Nuggets in the opening game of their playoff series at Phoenix.
Denver, trailing 94-80 with 8:11 remaining, got eight points from Walter Davis in a 19-5 run that tied the score, 99-99, with 1:13 left.
After Bill Hanzlik missed two free throws with 53 seconds to go, Kevin Johnson sank a foul shot for a 100-99 Sun lead with 37 seconds left.
Davis, who played 11 seasons with Phoenix before signing as an unrestricted free agent with Denver last July, hit a jumper with 20 seconds remaining for the Nuggets' first lead of the game, 101-100. Davis scored 12 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter.
Eddie Johnson's jumper, snapping an eight-minute field-goal drought for the Suns, put Phoenix ahead, 102-101, before Danny Schayes gave Denver a 103-102 lead with a hook shot with seven seconds showing.
Chambers finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds, and Kevin Johnson added 26 points.