Flu limits Jordan to 35 against Hornets


Toni Kukoc feeds Michael Jordan for the alley-oop.
Video 362k avi

Jordan tells Scott Burrell to "Get that shot outta here!"
Video 415k avi

Box score | Game recap | Game flow

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan, playing with the flu, scored 22 of his 35 points in the first half as the Chicago Bulls coasted to their fifth victory in a row, 93-72 over the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.

"I didn't feel well this morning," Jordan said. "I didn't feel like I could stand up without being nauseous. After I worked up a sweat, I started to feel better. I'm on the tail end of the virus."

Scottie Pippen scored 19, Steve Kerr had 10 points and Dennis Rodman grabbed 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who improved to a league-best 22-3.

"As far as I could tell, Michael Jordan didn't seem like he had the flu," Hornets coach Dave Cowens said.

The Bulls led 32-24 before reeling off 14 unanswered points for a 46-24 lead with 4:55 remaining in the half. Jordan hit three 3-pointers and Pippen added one during the run.

"We did a good job on the defensive end tonight," Pippen said. "We were sinking back in on defense, which helped to shut down Anthony Mason, Matt Geiger and Vlade Divac."

Rodman, a seven-time selection to the NBA All-Defensive Team, has taken a lot of criticism in recent weeks for lackluster performances against other power forwards. But on Thursday, Mason had just six points and eight rebounds.

"I was a lot more motivated tonight," Rodman said. "I really feel like I'm back into it now."

Charlotte scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to pull within 69-60 with 10:27 to play, but Chicago answered with a 16-2 run to grab an 85-62 advantage with 4:42 to go. Kerr scored seven during the run.

"We played hard and aggressively, got some turnovers and capitalized early," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. "We also had some hot shooters. Michael was a little under the weather, but he even got a little frisky. We came back the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to seal our lead."

Glen Rice scored 23 points to lead the Hornets, whose five-game home winning streak was snapped. Charlotte has dropped all three meetings with Chicago this season.

"We missed a lot of layups," Cowens said. "I'm not sure why, but when you are playing against a good team you've got to get those layups. When I watch the film, I know that I'm going to find layups as our biggest downfall tonight."

Jordan was 13 for 27 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds for the Bulls, who hit 42 percent of their shots (38 for 90). Chicago had a 51-38 rebounding advantage and 24 second-chance points to Charlotte's nine.

Tony Smith scored 10 points in 18 minutes off the bench for the Hornets, who shot 36 percent (29 for 80) from the floor.

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