EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL : Jordan Will Do His Best to Even Score With Knicks

From Associated Press

In winning the NBA championship for two consecutive years, the Chicago Bulls have yet to lose two playoff games in a row. Michael Jordan, rising to every challenge, has seen to that.

"I'm going to take it personally," Jordan said Monday of Chicago's 98-90 loss to New York in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final series. "I'm going to try to step my game up, but not in a one-on-one situation.

"We'll see how well I respond to the challenge. I know I can play better. I've had some good games here. I just haven't been able to knock the shots down."

Jordan acknowledged that John Starks, his counterpart on the Knicks, outplayed him.

"Starks had a better day," Jordan said before practice at Madison Square Garden, site of Game 2 on Tuesday night. "I'm not afraid to say when someone gets the best of me. He hit some tough shots. He maintains his poise and concentration. He plays me extremely well."

Starks made five three-pointers Sunday, four in the fourth quarter, when he scored 13 of his 25 points. That was two fewer than Jordan, who took 13 more shots than Starks, missing 17 of 27 attempts.

"I missed some easy shots," Jordan said. "It's just one of those things. I have to try to not let it happen. I know I didn't play the basketball I want to play. I let my team down. I hope to redeem myself."

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