Bulls rampage to 50th win

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CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen each had 23 points in the first half as the Chicago Bulls cruised to their 50th victory of the season, a 126-108 rout of the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

The Bulls built a 72-42 halftime lead, giving them more points than they had during all of Thursday's 73-70 loss at Cleveland.

"I want to extend my thanks to the Cavaliers for putting us in a jam tonight," Kings coach Garry St. Jean said. "I only see the Bulls a couple times a year, but I haven't seen a better half played by anybody this season."

"I only see the Bulls a couple times a year, but I haven't seen a better half played by anybody this season."

--Kings coach Garry St. Jean
The victory gave the Bulls a 50-7 record. Only one NBA team -- last season's champion Bulls -- ever posted 50 wins faster, doing so after 56 games.

Jordan finished with 35 points and Pippen, who sat out the fourth quarter, had 29. Dennis Rodman grabbed 11 rebounds before sitting out the final period.

"Scottie set the tone for us tonight," Jordan said. "When he gets hot like that I can sneak in and out, and when we're both hitting on offense, we're a tough team to beat."

Pippen shot 8 for 12 in the first half -- including 4 for 5 from 3-point range -- and Jordan was 9 for 12. Pippen finished the game at 10 for 16 and Jordan was 13 for 20.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf led the Kings with 26 points and Billy Owens added 20. Mitch Richmond, the NBA's third-leading scorer, went 1 for 14, missing seven of eight shots in the first half.

"That was probably the worst Mitch has ever shot," St. Jean said. "He had been playing well, but tonight was a struggle. Michael Jordan can have that kind of effect on people every night."

"This was really a tough night for me," Richmond added. "I can honestly say this is the worst shooting night I've had in my NBA career."

Luc Longley scored 12 points for Chicago. Toni Kukoc sat out with a right foot sprain suffered Thursday, and he is questionable for Monday's game against Milwaukee.

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