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NBA FINALS | NOTES

When Curtain Goes Up, Pippen Goes In

June 02, 1997|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER and MARK HEISLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHICAGO — His left foot may still be sore today from kicking the Utah Jazz around.

Scottie Pippen went from hobbling to rolling, having spent the better part of the previous four days resting the soft-tissue injury and then finding the place to release the pent-up energy.

It was Game 1 of the NBA finals in the United Center, where he not only started, but played 43 minutes, made 11 of 19 shots, scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Chicago Bulls' 84-82 victory.

"It is that part of the season where you are going to do everything you can to stay on top of the water," Pippen said. "I guess you don't want to sink. And playing a team like the Jazz, you want to come out full strength.

"I don't know what it would have taken [to sit out], but I felt like, going into this game, that I was going to do whatever I could to play, deal with any type of pain. And I was able to overcome it throughout the game."

There were some moments of soreness but not many.

"I didn't anticipate that I would be able to play the minutes and be as effective as I was," he said. "But I was able to tolerate the pain."

Said Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan, noting he expected Pippen to play all along, despite the reports of uncertainty coming from the Bulls.

"You think I follow that stuff?" he asked. "Great players want to play. And they usually do and they usually play well. . . . If they put their uniform on, you can expect great games out of those people."

*

John Stockton, on committing seven turnovers: "Guilty as charged."

*

Pippen, asked what he whispered to Karl Malone before Malone missed two free throws: "The Mailman doesn't deliver on Sunday."

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