Chicago 113, New Jersey 92


John Calipari says it was the Nets versus Hall of Famers. (Courtesy SportsChannel)
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Michael Jordan scored 22 of his 32 points in the first half Friday as the Chicago Bulls opened a 27-point lead and cruised to a 113-92 victory over the cold-shooting New Jersey Nets.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan drives on Kendall Gill.
Scottie Pippen scored 24 points and Ron Harper and Robert Parish added 12 apiece as the Bulls improved to 19-3, the best record in the Eastern Conference.

"They are a great team with great players, and tonight they were operating like a machine," Nets guard Kendall Gill said of the Bulls.

The game could've featured two of the NBA's top three rebounders. Instead, Chicago's Dennis Rodman was completing a two-game suspension and New Jersey's Jayson Williams sat out with a sprained thumb.

Rodman, the league's third-leading rebounder at 15.2 per game, was suspended for two games by the Bulls for a profane, postgame outburst Sunday that was broadcast live on cable television.

"It's kind of like coming home when your kids are away at college and you wonder what's different about the family and the house," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. "That's kind of the way it has been. It's like Dennis is away."

Jackson said Rodman will be back in the starting lineup Saturday night against Charlotte.

Williams leads the NBA in rebounding at 16.1 per game.

"We didn't play our type of push game. We played their game," New Jersey coach John Calipari said. "We have good NBA players, they have Hall of Famers.

"We can't play their type of game. Without Jayson, we were outrebounded. Some of our players did not come to play. One or two of the guys were in awe instead of playing their game."

Robert Pack scored 25 points for the Nets, who were attempting to post consecutive wins against last season's conference champions. New Jersey beat defending Western Conference champ Seattle 110-101 on Wednesday.

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