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Jordan's Button Pushed by the Heat for Game 5

May 28, 1997|From Associated Press

Alonzo Mourning guaranteed a victory for the Miami Heat and got one. Now Michael Jordan has a prediction for tonight's Game 5 in the Eastern Conference finals--the Chicago Bulls will not be pushed around.

The Bulls, unhappy with what they perceived was the overly physical play of the Heat, especially Mourning, during Miami's 87-80 victory Monday, vowed to be more aggressive as they try to close out the best-of-7 series in Chicago. The Bulls lead the series, 3-1.

"It's personal all the way around. I saw one of my players with a knot on his head, so that makes it personal," Jordan said after Tuesday's practice. "When your little brother is being picked on and your other brother is being picked on, it's time for the family to come together and go out and stand strong and be ready to fight. I don't mean literally fight but I mean in terms of basketball."

Scottie Pippen got a bump on his head from Mourning's elbow. And Mourning and Dennis Rodman--who has received at least one technical foul in each of Chicago's 12 playoff games--got into a fourth-quarter wrestling match.

"When Scottie got a knot on his head, I got a knot on my head. When Dennis got on the floor and got punched out, we got punched out," Jordan said. "I'm saying we are going to raise our level of basketball as we did against the Detroit Pistons years ago when they made it personal when they were beating us up."

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Rick Pitino, president and coach of the Boston Celtics, named Chris Wallace as the team's general manager. Wallace has been director of player personnel for the Miami Heat. . . . Denver Nugget vice president Allan Bristow continued the team's overhaul by hiring Mike D'Antoni as director of player personnel. The 46-year-old D'Antoni, a former player, will assist with the daily operations by coordinating scouting efforts and helping with preparation for the NBA draft.

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Vlade Divac of the Charlotte Hornets will undergo surgery June 5 to repair injuries to his left hand and left knee, according to his Yugoslav national team, which announced he will not be available for the next month's European Championships in Spain.

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