Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on June 5, 1991 · 33
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 33

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 5, 1991
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TIMES WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 1991 9C Bulls prepare trap for Johnson is the key to tying the series before the teams go to Los Angeles for three games. GAME 2 PROGNOSIS By JOHN HARRIS IVnes Staff Writer CHICAGO The pressure will be on the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the NBA Finals tonight at Chicago Stadium. Or will it be on the Lakers? The Bulls, determined to avoid entering the three-game stretch in Los Angeles carrying a 2-0 series deficit, say they will have to exert more defensive pressure against the Lakers. "We're going to have to pick our defense up," Bulls forward Scottie Pippen said. "We'll have to be more intense and more aggressive trap, get the ball out of Magic's hands. We'll have to make the first blow and let them know we're going to make it our game." The Bulls were a step slow in the 93-91 loss to the Lakers on Sunday, and they never exerted their usual suffocating defense. There was very little trapping in the backcourt, as the Lakers used center Vlade Divac and forward Sam Perkins, both excellent ballhandlers for their size, to help bring the ball up. "There'll be some changes, I'm sure," Chicago forward Horace Grant said. "But mainly, if we can rotate correctly on defense and trap aggressively, we can beat them. As soon as the ball is thrown in, we have to trap Magic." Johnson dribbles the ball and waits to see whether anyone is open. If no one is, he throws the ball to James Worthy or Perkins, and they turn toward the basket with the height advantage. If someone is double-teamed, they pass the ball to someone who isn't and that player shoots. The Bulls want to keep the ball away from Johnson for as long as they can. "It's going to be hard," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said, "because they've got the guy who's been able to create tempo his entire career and we'll try to do one of the impossible things of getting the ball out of his hands and playing our (fast-break) tempo." Ktbbt . Scottie Pippen had cause for celebration against the Pistons, but said he "tried to do too much" in Game 1 vs. the Lakers. Pippen from 1C pen's past came back to haunt him. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is tonight at Chicago Stadium. Pippen, averaging 21.8 points and snooting 51 percent from the floor in the playoffs, scored 19 points in the game. He grabbed seven rebounds and made five assists, and was the only Chicago player outside of Jordan to score in double figures. But he was 7-of-19 from the floor and limited his effectiveness on defense when he picked up two quick fouls in the fourth quarter and finished the game with five personals. Incidents like those had kept some from embracing Pippen with unabashed enthusiasm. His play had been remarkable of late, helping put to rest his unfortunate disappearing acts in Game 7 of the 1989 and 1990 Eastern Conference finals because of questionable and unfortunate injuries. Jordan, who picked up the slack with 36 points Sunday, saw a Pippen he was not used to seeing at least not this year. "Scottie seemed to be a little nervous," Jordan said. "He was trying to get himself into a good rhythm and couldn't. So I felt my place was to step up and relieve the tension. I changed my scheme and became more offensively assertive." Pippen believes too much has been made of his inaugural perfor- NBA Finals Lakers leadsenesJ-0 Game 1: Lakers 93, Bulls 91 Game 2: Tonight, Lakers at Bulls9 p.m. Game 3: Friday, Bulls at Lakers, 9 p.m. Game 4: Sunday, Bulls at Lakers, 7 p.m. Game 5-x: June 12, Bulls at Lakers, 9 p.m. Game 6-x: June 14, Lakers at Buls1 9 p.m. Game 7-x: June 16, Lakers at Bulls, 7 p.m. x II necessary. mance in the finals. "I wasn't nervous," Pippen said Tuesday. "I guess I came out and tried to do too much too fast. "My game plan was basically to come out and be aggressive offensively. I was disappointed in the way I shot the ball. I thought a lot of the shots that I took should have gone down. "But that's part of the game. You just have to put that aside and bounce back and come ready to play a better game the next time." Pippen has traveled this path before, fueled by indecision and self-doubt. A Bill Laimbeer elbow knocked him out of the final game of the Eastern Conference final two years ago. His migraine was a big headache for the Bulls in the final game of the conference final last season. "It's something that will be held over my head for a while," Pippen said. "Even if the Bulls come up and win the championship, it's going to be there." One of the top forwards in the league, Pippen was overmatched against the Lakers' James Worthy. And Worthy is playing on a badly sprained left ankle that limits his movement. "I wasn't keeping up on my fouls and I got into trouble. That did hurt me a lot. As a player, I want to be on the court," Pippen said. "I think I have to get something going to the basket. Layups, dunks, whatever. It's going to be tough. The Lakers are a team that really shields the basket off real well. They run back in transition on defense and really block the lane." Pippen, the fifth player selected in the 1987 draft, showed promise his rookie season. However, he developed a herniated disc in his back that required surgery. He missed training camp and the first eight games of the 1988-89 season. Still, he improved enough to earn a spot in the starting lineup. Last year he led the league in steals and made the All-Star team for the first time. Pippen helped the Bulls become one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference the past two years. Chicago desperately needed someone other than Jordan to assert himself offensively. That player has been Pippen. He scored 23 points, handed out 10 assists, grabbed six rebounds and had three steals in Game 4 of the conference finals against arch-nemesis Detroit. He scored his 1991 playoff high against Philadelphia (28 points). He has scored 20 or more points in all but three games during the post-season. For Chicago to win, Jordan and Pippen both have to play well. It has always been difficult for the Bulls to win with only Jordan on top of his game. "There's no panic for us," Pippen said. "It's only been one game, and it could have gone either way; one of us had to lose. We'll bounce back. There's no more pressure than usual." NBA FINALS NOTEBOOK ..J re i .'At ,S v s; 1 AP Magic Johnson helped Paul Westhead and Pat Riley win titles as first-year NBA coaches. Magic has been lucky charm for rookie head coaches CHICAGO Mike Dunleavy is trying to become the fifth man to win a National Basketball Association title in his first season as head coach. You have to like his chances with Magic Johnson in the lineup. The past two rookie coaches to win it all were Paul Westhead in 1980 and Pat Riley in 1982, both with the Lakers. Johnson was the starting point guard on both of those championship teams. Bulls ready for Game 2 charge Chicago's players realize the importance of winning Game 2 and not going to Los Angeles down 2-0. Two teams have come back from 2-0 deficits to win the championship series. Boston came back to beat the Lakers in 1969, and Portland rallied to defeat Philadelphia in 1977. Both lost the first two games on the road, then went home and regained their touch. No team has won the title after losing the first two games at home. After tonight, the next three games are in Los Angeles. Teams that win Game 1 have gone on to win 31 of 44 final series (70.5 percent). But since the NBA went to a 2-3-2 format for the finals, the team with the two sets of home games has won nine of 10 series. The exception was when the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in 1985. "The Lakers have to be considered the favorites now that they're up 1-0," Bulls guard John Paxson said. "But it's just one game. That's the only way we can approach it." Levingston boldly predicts Chicago's Cliff Levingston raised some eyebrows when he picked the Bulls over the Lakers in five games. "We came into the league together, and Cliff was talking then," Lakers guard Terry Teagle said. "It's nice to see that he's still talking." Stern favors prime time NBA commissioner David Stern said the switch of Games 4 and 7 from the afternoon to prime time may result in all future finals being played exclusively in prime time. "It's an opportunity to include all the kids and family audiences," Stern said. "The NBA made the request to have some good family-hour time. We discussed doing this during (TV contract) negotiations (with NBC) the concept of making it a prime-time event." Game 1 of the championship series drew a 16.4 overnight rating in 25 cities, the highest for a Sunday afternoon NBA playoff game. Pf und to follow Riley? Lakers assistant coach Randy Pfund is rumored to be leaving Los Angeles for the Knicks. He would join Riley, who gave Pfund his start in the NBA when New York's new coach was leading the Lakers. Pfund would not comment on the situation. Divac: Take NBA right away Lakers center Vlade Divac said he thinks former Yugoslavian teammate Toni Kukoc erred by signing to play in Italy rather than with the Bulls. "It was not a mistake for the money, but for basketball," Divac said. "He has to play now in the NBA to make good points for his career. If he comes in three or four years, it will be too late. "The Italian League is so soft, and he'll play at just one level and can't learn over there. I guess he's just homesick, but he made a mistake. I feel he'll want to come in, but it might be too late for him." JOHN HARRIS ADCOCK MOTOR COMPANY THE CHOICE YOUR PARENTS MADE... AND THEIR PARENTS MADE SINCE 1926 SERVICE SALES BODY SHOP RENTALS 805-9th ST. NO. ST. PETE TRUCK BOXES j AINIUI Will l SClflOl Jilt, nc ! IJ74749lliS.No..Ctaopt I MX Alumnum Diamond Mo Jth.fjr W Not lull. God.UoV Sag BT Y f'rnr I 573 5088 or ! 800-446-7837 g-"-' i z Tin Cintnmuing A.iHbitii. j Horses, greyhounds, and hair-raising jai-alai action. 5125 S. 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