Jordan Says He’ll Be Ready to Play in Game 2
The Chicago Bulls, a one-man team in danger of losing their one man, got a little stronger Monday. Michael Jordan said he was 80-85% fit.
Without Jordan, the Bulls, already trailing the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, 1-0, would be 100% done. But his thumbs-up appraisal regarding his bruised left hip before practice lends hope for Chicago in Game 2 tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
How strong that hope should be remains to be seen. Air Jordan crash-landed with 1 minute 36 seconds left in the first quarter of Sunday’s Game 1, but played the rest of the half without an interruption of greatness: 26 points on nine of 15 from the field, and a hanging double-pump jump shot from the top of three-point circle at the buzzer that gave the Bulls a 43-39 lead.
The hip stiffened at halftime, and Jordan wasn’t the same afterward. Not surprisingly, neither was Chicago.
Playing with an obvious limp, Jordan made three of 12 shots in the second half and scored only eight points. He had three points in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls lost, 86-77. Moreover, Jordan’s defensive responsibility, Joe Dumars, trouble even for a mobile player, scored 18 of his 27 points in the third quarter.
Chicago’s 77 points tied the Piston record for fewest allowed in a playoff game, done twice before including against the 1988 Bulls. Detroit shot 42.3% and still won.
From almost the instant they beat Philadelphia in the second round, the Bulls were boasting about how the 1990 team had so much more depth than last year’s, which lost to the Pistons in this same round. So far, it has been just talk.
Sunday afternoon, Scottie Pippen, with 16 points, was the only other Bull in double figures. The Piston bench outscored its Chicago counterpart, 27-12. The Bulls’ top three reserves--Stacey King, Craig Hodges and B.J. Armstrong--made four of 14 shots.