Chicago 111, Vancouver 96


Michael Jordan leaves Blue Edwards spinning as he nails a jumper.
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Michael Jordan scored 28 points and Scottie Pippen added 24 as the Chicago Bulls routed the Vancouver Grizzlies 111-96 in a Tuesday matchup of the league's best and worst teams.

Pippen grabbed 10 rebounds and Jason Caffey added 19 points for Chicago (38-5), which improved its league-best road record to 17-4. This was the opener of a six-game road trip for Chicago.

"I guess since its the beginning of the trip we just wanted to get out of the blocks quickly," Jordan said. "I had some good opportunities and some good looks at the basket. We put them back on their heels early and they could never really get back in the ball game."

Toni Kukoc handed out 11 assists for the Bulls, who continued to play without forward Dennis Rodman, who is serving an 11-game suspension for kicking a courtside cameraman two weeks ago.

Rookie Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Bryant Reeves added 18 points and 12 boards for Vancouver (8-38), which fell to 6-20 at home.

Greg Anthony had 12 points and 13 assists for the Grizzlies, who lost their sixth consecutive game and third in a row under new head coach Stu Jackson, who took over for the fired Brian Winters last week.

"I was able to contribute and play hard, but when you lose you never did enough," Abdur-Rahim said. "You aren't even close to being satisfied, so I guess I could have done a lot better."

"They came out and challenged us in the ball game at the start of our road trip," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. "Our energy was very good at the start of the game. We got off shooting very well in the first half. I think in the second half, they started to play harder and they came out feeling better about themselves."

CHICAGO is 4-0 all-time against the expansion Grizzlies.

Leading 27-21 after one quarter of play, the Bulls scored 22 of the first 28 points in the second quarter. Pippen scored six points to spark the 22-6 run and Steve Kerr hit a jumper to cap the burst, giving Chicago a 49-27 advantage with 5:12 left in the half.

"Any time you go on the road, I think that's the main thing you approach going into the game: To try to take the crowd out early," Pippen said. "We were able to do that from a defensive standpoint. We established that we were going to shut down the middle and not allow them to get easy baskets and that made the difference in the game."

"It's started from the get-go," Anthony said. "It didn't start in the second quarter. They set the tone -- or should I say we set the tone with the lack of intensity, and that's what really caused the turnout of the game."

The Bulls settled for a 65-44 lead at the break behind Jordan's 16 points.

After Vancouver drew within 76-61 on a jumper by Reeves three minutes into the third quarter, Luc Longley made a layup to ignite a 10-0 run. Jordan had five points during the stretch and Pippen followed with a lay-in to give Chicago an 86-61 bulge with 4:57 remaining.

The Bulls carried a 92-67 advantage into the fourth quarter as Jordan had 25 and Pippen 24.

Jordan and Randy Brown each made four steals for Chicago, which shot 55 percent (46 for 83) from the field and as a team recorded 17 steals. The Bulls won despite committing 20 turnovers and being outrebounded by a 43-39 margin.

Blue Edwards> and Lawrence Moten each scored 10 points for Vancouver, which turned the ball over 26 times, leading to 27 points for the Bulls.

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