NEW YORK — Michael Jordan shot 38%.
Scottie Pippen got ejected.
Horace Grant got two rebounds.
The miracle was that the Chicago Bulls got back into Tuesday night's game, cutting a 14-point deficit to 93-91 in the closing seconds. This was of little consolation because they then lost, 96-91, to the New York Knicks, who lead the Eastern Conference final, 2-0.
The best-of-seven series moves to Chicago. The Bulls left Madison Square Garden growling.
"I think it makes anybody angry that likes basketball for a sport," Bull Coach Phil Jackson said.
"It's not a wrestling match. Basketball's basketball. It's a game of movement and beauty and ball movement and player movement. It was just one conflict after another. It's just irritating.
"But they're good at it, and they got away with it and that's what counts."
Said Knick guard Doc Rivers: "That's Phil. He's a philosopher."
The Bulls came ready Tuesday. Jordan, embarrassed by his 10-for-27 performance in Game 1, praised his opponent, John Starks--"Starks had the better day yesterday, and I was certainly gracious to say so"--and made plans to dismantle him in Game 2.
Everyone started talking about the LaBradford Smith incident. Smith, a Bullet guard, made the mistake of scoring 37 points against Jordan during the regular season with the Bulls due in Washington to play again the next night.
In the second game, Jordan told his teammates he wanted to score 37 before halftime.
He settled for 36.
Sure enough, Jordan came out firing against the Knicks Wednesday. By halftime, he had 25 points--as many as Starks had scored in Game 1.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, little else was happening.
At the half, Pippen had 13 points.
The other nine Bulls who had played had combined for 11.
When B.J. Armstrong made a 20-footer to open the third quarter--the first shot he had gotten off--the Bulls led, 51-49.
The Knicks then put together a 22-6 run.
Early in the fourth quarter, Pippen was called for double-dribble. He snarled something at referee Billy Oakes, then snapped the ball at Oakes. The ball glanced off the chest of Oakes, who immediately ejected Pippen.
Jackson, dismayed as he has been from the moment he set foot in this city, pushed Grant onto the floor to argue with the officials, to no avail.
Improbably enough, the Bulls then rallied.
With 1 minute to play, Bill Cartwright went to the foul line with the Bulls trailing, 91-88 . . . and missed two free throws.
With 47 seconds to play, Starks tore down the right baseline, went up over Grant and threw down a monster left-handed dunk, putting the Knicks ahead, 93-88.
With 29 seconds to play, Cartwright hit two free throws, cutting it to 93-90.
With 23 seconds to play, Charles Oakley threw the ball away against the Bulls' press.
With 15 seconds to play, Cartwright was fouled again but missed one of two free throws.
With 12 seconds to play, Oakley, fouled, made both of his free throws for a 95-91 lead. Jordan missed a last three-pointer and the Knicks were safe.
"We're concerned," Jackson said. "We're very concerned. We have to win a ballgame, there's no doubt about that.
"They play their style of game on their home floor. They're not going to play that style of ball on our floor. I'm sure we're going to make sure that doesn't happen in our home."
OK, so Jackson wasn't in a great mood.
Of course, the Knicks don't know what a good mood is.
"Everybody says they're going to count us out," grumbled Oakley in a stream-of-consciousness tour of the Knicks' psyche.
"They say how dirty we play, this and that, all that bull. . . . You know, everybody's down on us. Bulls take us in five. But we're just gonna keep playing.
"We never get nothing. We don't worry about it. I think Patrick (Ewing) is the MVP (instead of Charles Barkley of Phoenix). He didn't get it, so we don't worry about it. We had a game to play, and everybody's asking us do we think Pat deserves it. Yes we do, but he didn't get it, so why keep talking about it?"
After absorbing a 48-28 rebounding beating in Game 1 and making a point to work on it, the Bulls were outrebounded, 45-34, in Game 2. In the two games, Knick power forward Charles Oakley outrebounded the Bulls' power forward, Horace Grant, 30-10. . . . Knick guard Doc Rivers took six shots and scored 21 points, returning to the game after leaving because of a leg injury. "It was cramps," he said, "or old age."