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It Takes Time, but Jordan (49) Takes It Over

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After watching the Clippers lose 10 of their first 11 games, Hall of Fame Coach Jack Ramsay said the Clippers look like a CBA team.

But the Clippers didn’t play like the least talented team in the NBA against the five-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls, taking the Bulls to two overtimes before losing, 111-102, before a sellout crowd of 16,199 Friday night at the Sports Arena.

The Clippers, who have lost eight consecutive games, squandered a four-point lead in the final 39.5 seconds of the first overtime when Michael Jordan took over.

Jordan, who scored a season-best 49 points, scored the final four points of the first overtime and then all nine points of the second overtime.

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“It was a brutal way to lose a game,” said guard Brent Barry, who made two free throws with 10.5 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime tied, 92-92.

Clipper swingman Lorenzen Wright gave the ball away when he was called for a backcourt violation on an inbounds pass intended for Lamond Murray with the Clippers leading, 102-100, in the first overtime.

“We panicked,” said Wright, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. “We should have called a timeout because nobody got open.”

“I was thinking I was off the hook when he threw the ball away,” Jordan said.

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Jordan sent the game into the second overtime after he made a layup with 8.9 seconds left after missing two free throws with 15.7 seconds remaining. Jordan got his own rebound after missing the second free throw intentionally.

“I looked over at [Coach] Phil [Jackson] and he was saying, ‘Miss it, miss it,’ ” Jordan said. “I’d been shooting so poorly it wasn’t hard.”

Jordan, who walked off the court with his head down after missing 11 of 14 shots in the first half, scored 40 of his 49 points after the intermission.

“My wrist has been bothering me,” said Jordan, who wound up making 18 of 38 shots.

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It was the Bulls’ eighth consecutive victory over the Clippers and their first road victory of the season after four losses.

Murray, who languished on the bench last season, scored a team-best 24 points before fouling out in the second overtime.

Murray’s three-point play with 58 seconds left gave the Clippers a 100-97 lead in the first overtime.

But Keith Closs fouled Luc Longley with 40 seconds left. Longley made the first and missed the second and Dennis Rodman, who had 14 rebounds and 10 points, was called for going over the back of Closs.

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Closs made two free throws with 39.5 seconds remaining before the Clippers panicked.

The Bulls had a chance to win it in regulation, but Jordan missed a fall-away jumper in the final second.

Grounded for the first three quarters, Air Jordan finally took off in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points of the Bulls’ final 13 points as the Bulls overcame a five-point deficit in the final 5:26.

Jackson complained that the Bulls were flat after they lost at Phoenix on Thursday night.

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They came into the game shooting 41.1% and averaging 82 points on the road compared to 44.8% and 91.6 points at home.

“The guys have no energy,” Jackson said. “They’re just going through the motions.”

The Bulls (7-5) looked like they were playing in slow motion in the first half, falling behind by 18 points in the second quarter at 36-18.

Rodman drew a flagrant foul with 12 seconds left in the second quarter for knocking Barry to the court.

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Fitch had hinted that he might change his starting lineup after the Clippers surrendered a season-worst 45 points in Wednesday night’s 122-113 loss at Miami.

Fitch, who jokingly said that he might pull names out of a hat to pick his starting lineup, started Pooh Richardson at point guard in place of Darrick Martin, Wright in place of center Stojko Vrankovic and Murray in place of Loy Vaught, who sat out the game because of back spasms.


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