YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Bulls Catch a Break and Finish Bullets

May 01, 1997|From Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — The Chicago Bulls used their playoff experience and a generous helping of luck to cap yet another first-round playoff sweep.

Michael Jordan brought the Bulls back from a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes, and then Scottie Pippen, grabbing a loose ball, made a driving dunk shot with 7.4 seconds left to give the Bulls a 96-95 victory over the Washington Bullets on Wednesday night.

The victory gave Chicago a 3-0 series sweep, its sixth first-round sweep in the last seven years. The Bulls, who next face the winner of the Detroit-Atlanta series, have advanced to the second round 10 years in a row.

It was Washington's first home playoff game since 1988, and it turned out to be the team's final game as the Bullets. Washington moves to a new arena next season and will be called the Wizards.

The game-winning basket came after the ball slipped out of Jordan's hands and flew right into Pippen's while his defender, Juwan Howard, was caught looking in another direction. Pippen drove to the basket and jammed the ball as he was being fouled by Harvey Grant.

"We executed the play to perfection," Pippen said in jest. "It hung in the air for a while, and when I got it I just took it to the baseline."

Jordan had only 18 points through three quarters but got 10 in the fourth. Pippen finished with 20, and Dennis Rodman, in his first start since coming back from a knee injury, had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Of the Bullets, Jordan said, "They pushed us to the limit. Without the education and maturity we got from past playoffs, it could have been a different outcome."

Chicago rallied from a 90-81 deficit to take a 94-93 lead on a shot by Jordan with 1:12 left. Two free throws by Howard gave Washington a 95-94 lead with 22.1 seconds to go, then Pippen made his shot but missed the free throw. As time expired, Calbert Cheaney got off a shot from 20 feet but missed badly.

Los Angeles Times Articles