Utah wins as Bulls bumble for first time

  Box score | Game recap | Game flow

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Chicago Bulls lost for the first time in 13 games this season, falling 105-100 to the Utah Jazz on Saturday despite 44 points by Michael Jordan.

Karl Malone scored 11 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and the Jazz took advantage of Dennis Rodman's poorly timed tantrum to win its fifth game in a row.

"It was a big win for us, but it was just one game and those guys are still the defending champs," Malone said of the Bulls. "Everybody wants to pat you on the back and tell you how good you are right now, but you know half the people showed up tonight with Chicago Bulls stuff on."

Chicago (12-1) fell three games shy of the best season-opening winning streak in league history. That mark was set by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and matched by the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.

"It was a good run," Jordan said of the streak. "Now we start another one."

After Jordan made two free throws to tie the score at 98-98, Malone hit a jumper with 29 seconds left to ignite a game-ending 7-2 burst.

Rodman drew his second technical of the game and was ejected after pushing Jeff Hornacek with 13.9 seconds left. Hornacek hit a technical free throw and Bryon Russell hit one of two from the line for a 102-98 advantage with 12 seconds remaining.

After Chicago's Scottie Pippen missed a 3-pointer with six seconds left, Malone was fouled and made one free throw for a 103-98 lead one second later. Jordan added a basket to make it 103-100 and Hornacek hit two free for the final score.

Rodman more than hinted that the officiating didn't go Chicago's way.

We were never in control out there because it was eight guys (including referees) against five," Rodman said. "That's the way I look at it.

"It's one damn loss, that's all," Rodman said. "I wasn't really interested in the game. I didn't have my game face on. Karl Malone had 36 points -- that shows you how interested I was."

Russell and Hornacek each scored 17 points and John Stockton added 12 points and 13 assists for Utah (8-2). Malone grabbed 15 rebounds for the Jazz, which has won six games by a combined 66 points since losing back-to-back games to Houston.

"It was a fun game, obviously, playing against these guys," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I think everyone was entertained by what Jordan did and it was very difficult to try and play against them. But our guys I think played extremely hard and fortunately we had the ball bounce our way a couple of times."

Pippen scored 16 points and Steve Kerr added 11 for Chicago. Rodman grabbed 10 rebounds.

"It was an offensive battle as I expected, but shooting 60 percent at halftime? We knew it wouldn't continue at that rate," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. "We had a miserable fourth quarter. We missed our shots and they took advantage of it. They played a real good last six minutes of the game."

Copyright 1996-1997 Starwave Corporation and ESPN Inc. All rights reserved. Duplicated and redistributed without permission.