1 Lead In Dizzying Series Despite 40

Whether or not they win another game in this series, the Orlando Magic Friday earned the respect they had sought from the rest of the NBA.

On a night when this city was ready to ascend into the basketball version of nirvana, the Magic withstood a 40 point night by Michael Jordan to pull out a 110 101 victory behind 28 points from Shaquille O That was with Jordan wearing No. 23 for the first time at the United Center an occasion duly noted by 24,281 Bulls fans ready to blow the roof off the place.

growing with each and every game, Orlando coach Bob Hill said. had great learning experiences through each and every round of the playoffs. victory gave Orlando a 2 1 lead in this best of seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon here, but it is hard to imagine the series getting more dazzlingly competitive.

4) is a critical game for us, obviously, Chicago coach Phil Jackson said. have to play a three game series after this. This is a game that is critical for us, and we know it. It too early to talk about this as a devastating loss. We had a good fourth quarter, but things just came apart at the end for us. by double digits in the first half, the Magic roared back to take a four point halftime lead. had 15 fast break points at halftime, which is more than we had collectively through both games in four quarters, Hill said.

Orlando extended its lead to 77 67 halfway through the third quarter.

Now, again, it was Chicago turn. Armstrong rained jumpers from the outside to help the Bulls lead 81 80 going into the fourth quarter. In that stretch, Jordan contributed only a layup.

What followed was 12 minutes of high suspense. The Bulls moved ahead 86 80 before consecutive dunks by O and Horace Grant started Orlando back. The Magic tied the score at 86, then fell behind again by five as Jordan turned a fastbreak layup into a three point play.

But, suddenly, Nick Anderson was draining two 3 point rainbows, one over Jordan and another after a missed 22 footer by teammate Dennis Scott bounded back into Orlando possession. As the second one fell boom! the score was tied again, this time at 99 with 4 minutes left.

With 1:38 left, Anfernee Hardaway, who had been fouled by Jordan while attempting a 3 pointer, canned 2 of 3 free throws to give the Magic a 103 101 lead.

At the other end, the Bulls passed the ball to Jordan, but he lost it in the lane. It seemed to have been tipped from behind. Grant ended up with the ball, and he then made 1 of 2 free throws. Next, Pippen shot a 20 foot brick that O rebounded. Grant grabbed 14 rebounds and O 10.

Jordan scored only nine of his 40 points after halftime, while Pippen totaled 25 points and 12 rebounds.

The Bulls had issued a fashion statement earlier in the day: Neither owner Jerry Reinsdorf nor general manager Jerry Krause was going to make Jordan do anything he didn want to do.

understand that the commissioner (David Stern) has good reasons and sufficient reasons for not wanting players to change uniform numbers during the season, Reinsdorf said in the statement. it is extremely important to Michael that he be permitted to wear his original number, and after discussions with all involved, the Bulls have concluded that we will issue No. 23 to Michael for the balance of the playoffs . 110, Bulls 101

Grant 7 10 4 6 18, Scott 3 9 3 3 10, O 10 18 8 10 28, Anderson 7 13 5 6 22, Hardaway 6 14 6 8 19, Royal 0 1 2 4 2, Avent 0 0 0 0 0, Shaw 4 8 0 0 9, Bowie 0 1 2 2 2. Totals 37 74 30 39 110.

Pippen 9 20 6 9 25, Kukoc 3 10 2 2 8, Longley 3 4 0 0 6, Armstrong 5 10 1 1 14, Jordan 15 31 10 10 40, Perdue 0 0 0 0 0, Buechler 0 1 0 0 0, Kerr 2 6 0 0 6, Wennington 1 3 0 0 2, Myers 0 1 0 0 0. Totals 38 86 19 22 101.

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