How the Bulls and Lakers match up

June 02, 1991|By Alan Goldstein

Guards

Everyone talks of the dream matchup between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, the game's two premier guards, but it is doubtful they will go one-on-one. Johnson can post up anybody. Jordan relies on slashing and incredible leaping ability. John Paxson and Byron Scott are basically jump shooters, with Scott having more speed.

Edge: Los Angeles.

Forwards

Sam Perkins, who can score inside or outside, was in top form for the Lakers in Western finals. Horace Grant benefits most from the double-teaming of Jordan by breaking free on the baseline. Grant has the edge as a rebounder. The key matchup up front pits the Bulls' Scottie Pippen against James Worthy, who has a great first step and a soft outside shot. Pippen also is responsible for much of the ball-handling.

Edge: Los Angeles

Centers

Veteran Bill Cartwright has been steady, if unspectacular, in low post for the Bulls, outplaying the Pistons' Bill Laimbeer and the 76ers' Armon Gilliam. Second-year player Vlade Divac held his own against Houston superstar Hakeem Olajuwon and outplayed the Trail Blazers' Kevin Duckworth. Cartwright has more experience and poise, but Divac is a superior passer and is quicker on the break.

Edge: Even

Benches

The Bulls have bolstered their depth considerably with the stepped-up performances of reserve guard B. J. Armstrong, three-point artist Craig Hodges, rebounding specialist Cliff Levingston and improved substitute center Will Perdue. The Lakers have less faith in their reserves, save for rugged power forward A. C. Green, who played a pivotal role in the Western Conference title-clinching win over the Blazers. Terry Teagle still has an excellent scoring touch as a backup for Scott. Johnson plays 40 minutes or more because of the poor supporting cast.

Edge: Chicago

Coaches

Phil Jackson, in only his second year, led the Bulls to a team-record 61 victories. The players are far more relaxed under Jackson than they were under his predecessor, Doug Collins. Jackson stresses a fast-switching defense and a free-lancing offense. Mike Dunleavy showed poise as rookie head coach after replacing near-legend Pat Riley. He emphasized the half-court game and bolstered team defense as the lights dimmed on the offense.

Edge: Chicago

Pick

The Lakers have more marquee players, but the Bulls are at the top of their game, and Jordan is obsessed with winning his first title. Bulls in seven

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.