INGLEWOOD,CALIF — INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Shades of a Chicago Bulls-Detroit Pistons feud. The NBA championship series between Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers is beginning to take on an ugly hue.
The first signs of anger surfaced Wednesday night after the Bulls had evened the best-of-seven series, 1-1, by routing the Lakers, 107-86. It seems that several of the losers sensed the Bulls, particularly Michael Jordan, were mocking them.
After hitting an off-balance jumper in the third quarter, Jordan made a gesture toward the Lakers bench that all but said, 'How can you stop that?' "
"That's something you just don't do this early in the series," said Byron Scott, who has the unenviable job of guarding Jordan. "But since he's Michael, I guess he feels he can get away with it. But it angers us to see someone of his caliber hot-dogging. I know it got us all upset, so we'll be ready at home."
Lakers' superstar Magic Johnson was more understanding of Jordan's theatrics and spent considerable time in the post-game news conference describing Jordan's incredible shot in the fourth quarter. He switched the ball in midair from his right to his left hand and then hooked it in between a crowd of defenders.
Said Magic, "It was incredible. If Michael hits his jump shots early in the game, that gets his creativity going. He gets a feeling of being unstoppable, invincible." Jordan finished with 33 points, making 15 of 18 shots.
* New look: After scoring only six points in the opener, Bulls forward Horace Grant returned to wearing prescription goggles for Game 2 and responded with 20 points on 10-for-13 shooting.
"Horace's glasses don't give him better vision," said coach Phil Jackson, "but they give him better perception."
Grant said his new goggles are similar to the ones worn by Pistons forward John Salley. Asked if he borrowed a pair from Detroit, Grant said, "No, all I get from Detroit is elbows."
* Pickled pro: Veteran Laker center-forward Mychal Thompson, who sees scant action off the bench, has no plans to retire after the season. "Why should I when I feel better now than ever," said Thompson, 36. "I haven't been playing, so it's like being preserved in a pickle jar."
* Blinkers needed: Lakers general manager Jerry West is so superstitious, he won't watch the team "live" in the finals. He was absent from both games in Chicago, concentrating on scouting possible draft choices at the NBA tryout camp.
Even in Los Angeles, West usually leaves his seat at The Forum long before the game ends, preferring to watch in privacy.
* Nap time: The Lakers, who took a charter flight out of Chicago Wednesday night, canceled practice yesterday, leaving only the Bulls to parry with the 800-plus media members.