Bulls deep-six Philly on banner night

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CHICAGO -- Ron Harper scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half as the Chicago Bulls raced to a 24-point halftime lead and went on to rout the Philadelphia 76ers 115-86 Saturday night.

Michael Jordan scored 27 points and Scottie Pippen added 22 for the Bulls (2-0), who received their 1995-96 championship rings from NBA commissioner David Stern.

Bulls banner
The championshtip banner is hoisted to the rafters.
"It was nice to see some of the guys who hadn't won before go through this experience," Jordan, a four-time NBA champion, said of the ceremony.

"Chicago is going to be considered one of the top teams ever in our existence," Stern said during the ceremony, which lasted 20 minutes. The Bulls set an NBA record last season with 72 regular-season victories.

As the title banner was being hoisted to the rafters of the United Center, one of the ropes snapped and left the banner dangling.

Of course, that was about all that went wrong for Chicago on Saturday.

"Outside of the banner crumbling in the middle of the raising, we were able to get ourselves going," coach Phil Jackson said.

The Bulls held a 47-36 lead before exploding for 15 points in the final 93 seconds of the first half, opening a 62-38 advantage at intermission. Jordan started the burst with a 10-footer, Harper added three points and Pippen six, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"Tonight we played a very good first half. We basically put the game away," Jordan said. "But we need to get better than we played during the whole game. We're going to play better teams than Philadelphia."

Allen Iverson sends one home.
"It was certainly a tough game for us, having to play after their ring ceremony, but that's really no excuse," said Sixers rookie Allen Iverson, who scored 15 points. "They just beat us up, especially at the end of the first half. We kind of lost it there in the last two minutes of the first half."

It was more of the same in the third quarter, when Jordan scored 12 points on five-for-nine shooting, including two 3-pointers. The Bulls held a 95-64 lead entering the fourth quarter and played their bench thereafter.

Chicago opened its largest lead of 34 points three times, the last at 115-81 on a basket by Bill Wennington with 1:57 to go.

Don MacLean scored 16 points and Clarence Weatherspoon added 14 for the Sixers (0-2), who shot just 38 percent from the field. Iverson scored 30 points in his NBA debut on Friday night.

The 76ers scored seven of the first nine points, but the Bulls quickly regrouped and opened a 27-17 advantage after one quarter behind Harper's 12 points and Jordan's nine.

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