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Bulls Are Left With 60th Win by Jordan

From Associated Press

So confident were the Chicago Bulls on the way to an easy victory, Michael Jordan tried a left-handed approach at the foul line Saturday night against the Orlando Magic.

What did he get?

Airball.

“I guess you could say we were kind of taking things for granted for a while. We seemed to have control of the game,” Jordan said after the Bulls held off the Magic, 87-78, at Chicago for their 60th victory, clinching the best record in the East.

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Jordan, who thought he’d be able to sit out the fourth quarter after the Bulls built a big lead, scored 37 points, making 15 of 25 shots, but only four of 10 free throws.

And with the Bulls leading by 17 late in the third quarter, he put up a left-handed free throw that was woefully short and off line.

“I was missing right-handed so I decided to try left-handed and that didn’t seem to work,” Jordan said.

“Before you know, they cut the lead to nine and we had to refocus again. I thought we had the game put away.”

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The Bulls (60-18) have earned home-court advantage at least through the first three rounds of the playoffs. The Bulls are also one game ahead of Utah for the best overall record after the Jazz were beaten at Minnesota.

New Jersey 124, Milwaukee 117--Sam Cassell had 29 points and 13 assists and Kerry Kittles scored 25 points for the Nets at Milwaukee.

Keith Van Horn added 20 points as the Nets moved within a half-game of the idle New York Knicks for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Cassell, coming off games of 29, 35 and 30 points, has led New Jersey in scoring throughout its winning streak.

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Cleveland 106, Philadelphia 95--Wesley Person made seven of 10 three-point shots and scored 25 points as the Cavaliers had their highest scoring half of the season (70 points) to defeat the 76ers at Cleveland.

The Cavaliers, who improved to 20-0 when scoring 100 or more points, came back from an early 20-point deficit and moved within 2 1/2 games of Atlanta for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Allen Iverson scored 32 points for the 76ers.

Minnesota 110, Utah 103--The Timberwolves guaranteed their first winning season in franchise history and dealt the Jazz a blow in their hopes to win home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory at Minneapolis.

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Stephon Marbury had 30 points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves.

The Jazz entered the game tied with Chicago for the best record in the NBA and with the tiebreaker advantage over the Bulls. The defeat also cut Utah’s lead over idle Seattle to one game in the race for the best record in the Western Conference.

Dallas 99, Denver 81--Shawn Bradley had 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks as the Mavericks ended a five-game losing streak with a victory at Dallas.

Erick Strickland scored 16 points and Michael Finley had 15 to help the Mavericks to their 20th win.

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Vancouver 105, Portland 96--Shareef Abdur-Rahim matched his season high with 31 points, including four in overtime at Vancouver as the Grizzlies ended a four-game losing streak.

Vancouver’s Tony Massenburg, filling in for injured center Bryant Reeves (bruised right knee), finished with a season-high 22 points before he was ejected for picking up his second technical foul with 2:59 left in overtime.

Isaiah Rider scored 26 points and Rasheed Wallace had 22 points and a career-high 16 rebounds as Portland had a four-game road winning streak ended.

NBA Notes

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Center-forward Buck Williams, who sat out 33 games because of a knee injury, was activated by the New York Knicks. To make room for Williams, the Knicks put center Ben Davis on the injured list because of tendinitis in his left Achilles’ tendon.


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