CHICAGO — "My supporting cast," which is what Michael Jordan calls his teammates, joined the party, one game behind their peerless leader but in time to let the Lakers know who they are.
Jordan turned playmaker long enough to turn his posse loose and then turned awesome as only he can.
He had 33 points and 13 assists as the Bulls bombed the Lakers, 107-86, Wednesday night, evening the NBA finals, 1-1, and handing Los Angeles its worst playoff defeat in three seasons.
Criticized for dominating the ball in Game 1, when he scored 40% of the Bulls' points, Jordan called his teammates out in reply.
Horace Grant, who had six points in Game 1, scored 20 on 10-for-13 shooting.
John Paxson went eight for eight.
Bill Cartwright went six for nine.
Jordan, himself, was a mere 15 for 18 for 33 points.
The Bulls shot 61.7%, an NBA finals record.
Harangue them again, Michael, they seem to like it.
"Michael is a challenging type of guy," Coach Phil Jackson said. "He's not the type of guy who's going to commiserate or put his arm around someone's shoulders. He's going to say, 'Step up, chump, and make some shots.' "
They couldn't shoot it if he had it, but Jordan was true to his word. He took two shots in the first quarter and five in the second.
He went off in the second half and capped his performance with a left-handed layup after seeming to hover above the lane for five seconds while juggling the ball back and forth.
"He gets a feeling of being unstoppable, invincible," Magic Johnson said.
"He went one way, put it in the other hand, floated about five more yards, said, 'Well, I don't know,' and then went off the glass.
"He can do the impossible, the unbelievable. It was his game. He really took over in the second half. He smelled the win."
Between games, Jackson was conceding the Bulls were back on their heels, but in the third quarter they got on their toes and walked on the Lakers' faces.
They were already ahead 58-51 when Scottie Pippen, soaring to the hoop on a fast break off a turnover by Johnson, was hand-checked by Byron Scott. It was ruled a flagrant foul, giving Pippen two free throws--he made both--and the ball to the Bulls.
A moment later, Jordan hit Cartwright for a dunk and it was 62-51.
"I think the big play in the game was the flagrant foul," Dunleavy said. "It was a tight game before that. I can't say it was a bad call, but I know this is no case of the Detroit Pistons here."
Having missed their first shot of the third quarter, the Bulls proceeded to hit 17 of the next 19. Jordan had 14 of their 38 points, and the Bulls took an 18-point lead.
It grew to 26 in the fourth quarter on that amazing layup by Jordan, which can be expected to air 1,000,000 times in the next decade, or until he does something more spectacular.
"Just one of those creative things," Jordan said. "Sometimes creative-wise, you don't know what's going to happen. My game, anyway."
The Lakers saw all they wanted of Jordan's game, but it will be back Friday at the Forum.
And Wednesday, at least.