Bulls whip Jazz, avenge season's first loss

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CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan scored 13 of his 23 points in the first quarter as the Chicago Bulls avenged their first loss of the season with a 102-89 victory over the Utah Jazz Monday, their fourth straight win.

Karl Malone
Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen scored 24 points and Dennis Rodman grabbed 16 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won nine straight home games.

CHICAGO won its first 12 games of the season before a 105-100 loss at Utah on Nov. 23.

"It's a challenge," Jordan said. "We don't want to lose twice to a team. We don't want to feel like any team has our number."

Karl Malone had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and John Stockton added 18 points and 11 assists for the Jazz, who trailed by as many as 26 points.

Utah is 6-7 after a 17-2 start and has lost five straight road games.

"We've played poorly on the road lately," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "It's very disappointing to see my players play this way. I can understand missing shots on offense; that's going to happen. But not getting your hands up or in the face of the other team is something I can't accept."

Leading 8-4, Chicago went on a 12-4 burst, fueled by Jordan's seven points. A 3-pointer by Pippen capped the run and gave the Bulls a 20-8 advantage with 4:05 remaining in the opening quarter.

"I was surprised about how we got out of the box," Jordan said. "We wanted to get out quickly and put them back on our heels."

Chicago led 29-15 after one period and widened the lead behind Pippen, who scored seven points in the second quarter. The Bulls' largest margin came at 52-26 on a 3-pointer by Ron Harper with 4:10 left in the half.

The half featured two shoving matches between Stockton and Randy Brown, and one between Jordan and Stockton.

"He was being a little competitive," Jordan said, "and I had to stand up for myself."

"What we wanted to do was keep the crowd out of it," Sloan said. "I guess we did that because they could have gone home after the first quarter. They could've beaten us by 50 if they wanted to. They competed harder and we didn't respond at all."

Utah closed the half with a 13-4 spurt and cut the deficit to 77-61 behind Malone, who scored 12 points in the third quarter after being held to seven in the first half.

"Our game plan was to try to contain the two primary scorers, Stockton and Malone," Jordan said. "I thought we set the tone early in the game and it carried us all the way.

"The encouraging thing is that they're a very good team and we were able to take them out of what they wanted to do."

The Jazz closed to 93-85 on a basket by Malone with 2:47 to go, but Pippen made a free throw and Brown sank a layup to give the Bulls a 96-85 lead with 2:02 remaining.

Toni Kukoc scored 15 points and Harper and Steve Kerr added 10 apiece for the Bulls, who shot 46 percent (40 of 87) from the field and held a 45-41 rebounding advantage.

In their six rematches after losses last season, the Bulls went 6-0, winning by an average of 21 points.

"We don't lose very often, so each loss is significant. We always try to get back at whoever it is," Kerr said. "Certain guys on this team have to search for challenges -- Michael, Scottie, Dennis -- and getting revenge is definitely a challenge for them."

CHICAGO never trailed and had just eight turnovers.

"We came out very determined, trying to change the style of play Utah comes at you with," Pippen said. "We did a real nice job defensively on them. They're an outstanding team but we certainly handled them tonight."

Chris Morris scored 11 points for the Jazz, who shot 44 percent (35 of 79) but made just two of 13 3-pointers. Starters Jeff Hornacek and Bryon Russell combined for just 12 points on 4-of-19 shooting.

The game featured another memorable sequence from Rodman.

In the first half, Rodman was called twice for entering the lane early on missed free throws by Malone. Rodman even taunted the referees, waving his right foot over the lane as if he were about to step in, but didn't get called for any technical fouls.

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