Bulls trail Blazers until Jordan gets hot


Rodman to return right after All-Star break

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Michael Jordan scored 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bulls stretched their winning streak to eight games by rallying to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 88-84 on Tuesday.

Jordan finished with 36 points, Scottie Pippen added 21 and Luc Longley contributed 14 for Chicago, which improved the league's best road record to 21-4. Pippen added eight rebounds for the Bulls, who are 5-0 on a six-game road trip.

Michael Jordan
"I was just playing my game, and I was just taking what they would give me tonight," Jordan said. "In the first quarter, I don't think we played any defense and they came out and scored a lot of points on us. But I think our defense started to tighten down."

"It was a good win," Pippen said. "We had to gut it out. We didn't play exceptionally well, but there will be nights like that. We're happy we didn't come out and give this game away."

Isaiah Rider scored 19 points and Gary Trent and Kenny Anderson each added 18 for Portland, which lost its fourth game in a row and fell to 14-9 at home. Rider and Anderson didn't shoot well though, combining to go 10 for 33 with five turnovers and only seven assists.

"On nights he has it going, there's nothing you can really do," Rider said of Jordan. "He got in a zone and started hitting every shot and feeling really good. It was tough guarding him at that point."

Jordan, Pippen and Longley were the only Bulls to score more than six points.

"Even though Michael got 36, we can't defend the Bulls much better than we did tonight," Portland coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "I don't know of too many teams that can."

After Clifford Robinson hit a 15-footer to give the Blazers a 66-60 lead 53 seconds into the fourth quarter, Jordan followed with a 21-foot jumper to ignite an 18-11 run. Jordan scored all but two of the Bulls' points during the surge, including a jumper that put the Bulls ahead 78-77, with 5:11 left in the game.

Portland took its last lead at 80-78 following one free throw by Trent with 2:30 to go before the Bulls scored the next four points. Jordan made a 15-footer to tie the score and Longley nailed a short jumper to put Chicago ahead 82-80.

Trent made a layup to knot the score at 82-82 with 1:05, but Jordan hit a pair from the line to give Chicago the lead for good.

The Bulls won despite shooting 43 percent (32 for 75) from the field and getting outscored 36-26 in the paint. Chicago also helped itself by committing just seven turnovers as a team.

Chris Dudley grabbed 15 rebounds and Robinson scored 13 points for Portland, which committed 17 turnovers that led to 24 points for the Bulls. Rasheed Wallace returned from a stint on the injured list and played 14 minutes for Portland.

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