As long as Michael Jordan is still breathing, it isn’t really possible to get the Chicago Bulls on the run.
The Washington Bullets seemed to get everything going their way Saturday night at Landover, Md., when they battled back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit and took a five-point lead in overtime.
But Jordan, who scored 20 points in the first 49 minutes, scored eight in the final four minutes to spark the Bulls to a 117-112 victory.
Jordan’s jump shot with 3:44 left in overtime tied the score, 107-107. Jordan also had baskets with 1:18 and 26 seconds left to give the Bulls a 113-109 lead. A three-point basket by Mark Alarie cut the margin to a point, but Jordan made two free throws, and the Bullets had lost their fifth in a row.
Darrell Walker, who had a triple-double for the Bullets (12 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists) described the Bullets’ feelings about Jordan.
“He has an ungodly ability,” Walker said. “If he wants to score, he will score.”
The Bullets had their chances in overtime, but missed six of their last seven shots.
The Bulls, winning their third in a row, improved to 19-9 and remained tied for the lead with Indiana in the Central Division.
Indiana 105, Atlanta 98--The NBA is beginning to resemble hockey with all the fighting these days.
The Hawks lost Glenn Rivers in the last minute of the first half at Indianapolis for punching the Pacers’ Reggie Miller.
Miller remained in the game and scored 28 points to lead the Pacers to their fifth victory in a row.
Miller thought he too was going to be ejected after the fight with Rivers, which actually began as an argument between John Battle and Miller.
Rivers went to assist his teammate and put a chokehold on Miller.
“I think the refs saw the chokehold,” Miller said, “but they missed me starting the fight.”
The Pacers have refused to fold, even while Chuck Person, their offensive leader, has been out with a scratched cornea on his left eye.
This was the fourth victory in a row in which Person was not a factor. Person, averaging 21.7 points, missed three games and played only six minutes Saturday.
Utah 117, Miami 98--Karl Malone had trouble getting started in the first half at Salt Lake City, and it gave the Heat hope and a 51-49 lead.
But early in the third quarter teammate John Stockton told Malone, “We’ve got to get it going.”
Malone did just that. He scored 26 of his 33 points after intermission and had 15 rebounds to send the Heat to its sixth consecutive defeat.
The third victory in a row put the Jazz within a game of first-place San Antonio in the Midwest Division.
New York 113, Orlando 107--Although Coach Stu Jackson keeps saying they aren’t playing very well, the Knicks keep winning.
Trent Tucker came off the bench to score 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, and the Knicks stretched their winning streak to nine games. It was their 12th victory without a loss at home.
“We’re not playing well, but we’re finding ways to win,” Jackson said.
The Magic, which began by splitting its first 14 games, has lost 13 of their last 15.
The Magic outshot the Knicks, outrebounded them and were better from the free throw line.
Charlotte 111, Houston 92--If Akeem Olajuwon is back in top form after an off-season bout with phlebitis, why can’t the Rockets win?
Olajuwon had 21 points and 15 rebounds, but the Rockets lost their 10th game in a row on the road and fell to 12-18.
Armon Gilliam had a season-high 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Hornets to their second consecutive victory.
The Rockets committed 26 turnovers that led to 27 points for the Hornets. The Rockets have given up more than 23 points on turnovers in each of their 10 losses on the road.
Dallas 116, Denver 109--After a three-overtime loss to Portland on Friday night, the Mavericks had better luck in a single overtime.
Rolando Blackman scored five of his 29 points in overtime at Dallas as the Mavericks pulled it out.
Blackman’s three three-point shots in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, the last with nine seconds left, sent the game into overtime.
Milwaukee 109, Minnesota 99--Jack Sikma scored 23 points at Milwaukee, and the Bucks built a big lead, then coasted to their fifth victory in a row.
With reserves playing late in the game, the Bucks held their opponent under 100 points for the ninth game in a row.
Sam Mitchell had 28 points for the Timberwolves.
Detroit 117, New Jersey 106--Gerald Henderson came off the bench at Auburn Hills, Mich., to sink two three-pointers in a 34-13 third-quarter surge that carried the Pistons to victory.
The Nets, who led by 11 points in the first quarter, tied it, 64-64, halfway through the third quarter, then fell apart.
Cleveland 110, Phoenix 102--Mark Price scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter at Richfield, Ohio, and the Cavaliers ended a five-game losing streak.
The Suns led, 72-65, but then Tom Chambers, who had 21 points in the first half, turned cold.