Bulls drop Bullets, 111-98 Jordan, Pippen extend road losing streak to 7

February 14, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO -- They hadn't won a game on the road in more than a month, having dropped seven straight going into last night. The Washington Bullets know that if they want to make the playoffs, they have to correct their road woes somewhere down the road. But playing the Chicago Bulls at the United Center was definitely not the place.

Already on pace to win 70 games, the Bulls also own the second-best home record in the league. And that record wasn't harmed last night in Chicago's 111-98 win over the Bullets before a sellout crowd of 23,494.

Give the Bullets credit for staying close in the first half, but you never got a sense that Washington was in it after the midway point of the third quarter. Michael Jordan, fresh off his All-Star MVP performance, scored 32 points and fellow All-Star Scottie Pippen added 26. Bullets All-Star Juwan Howard also fared well in the first game after the break with 28 points and nine rebounds.

It was the third straight loss for the Bullets, and the team's ninth in 13 games. Washington has lost seven straight on the road, and is 6-18 away from USAir Arena this season.

The Bullets (22-25) have never been four games below .500 this season, but face the prospect of doing just that tomorrow when they conclude a stretch of four straight road games against the Milwaukee Bucks.

In the first half, the Bullets pretty much duplicated their effort of Jan. 15, when they played the Bulls even most of the afternoon before losing, 116-109. Washington shot 61.8 percent in the first half but went into halftime trailing, 60-57.

The Bulls got a big first half from -- who else? -- Pippen and Jordan. Pippen scored 19 points in the first half, hitting seven of eight shots, including all three of his three-point attempts. Jordan scored 17 points, hitting seven of 15 shots.

Chicago appeared to be heading into the second quarter with a 33-25 lead, but Tim Legler's three-pointer with under a second left had the Bullets within 33-28.

The Bullets would make an impressive run in the second quarter. Trailing 41-36 after a jumper by Jordan, the Bullets went on a 12-3 run that began with a three-pointer by Legler to tie it at 44.

That only seemed to awaken the Bulls, who scored the next nine points. Both Pippen and Jordan hit three-pointers during the run and had a 53-48 lead after a jumper by Bill Wennington with 2:20 left. It was a run that lifted Chicago to the 60-57 halftime lead.

Washington was basically taken out of its offense when Chicago coach Phil Jackson assigned Pippen to defend Brent Price in the third quarter. Washington would score just 11 points in the first eight minutes of the quarter.

It was going so well for the Bulls that Dennis Rodman, after grabbing an offensive rebound, calmly dribbled to the corner where he launched a three-pointer that hit all net and gave Chicago its biggest lead, 83-71, with 2:24 left.

NOTES: Legler said his phone has been ringing off the hook after winning Saturday's three-point shootout during the NBA's All-Star Weekend, with ESPN and CNN scheduled to come to his house to do profiles. He expects the attention he receives on the court will increase, too. "It's probably going to get harder to get an open shot," said Legler, who was 2-for-3 on three-pointers and scored 15 points last night. "It's already been hard for the last month." . . . With Robert Pack making no improvement with the damaged nerve in his right leg, the Bullets signed point guard Greg Graham to a second 10-day contract.

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