Chicago 84, Cleveland 71


Kukoc reinjures foot, misses game

Box score | Game recap | Game Flow

CHICAGO -- Scottie Pippen shook off a horrendous first half to make six of his seven third-quarter shots Friday, and the Chicago Bulls went on to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 84-71.

Michael Jordan is pressured by the Cavaliers.

The Bulls (64-10) need to win their final eight games to match their own NBA record for wins (72). Chicago needs six victories to become the first team in league history to post consecutive 70-win seasons.

Michael Jordan led Chicago with 22 points, but had just eight after the half. That was OK, though, because Pippen scored all 15 of his points in the pivotal third quarter.

"Scottie is a consummate pro," Jordan said. "He knows when his production is needed."

Tyrone Hill had 18 points to lead Cleveland (38-36), which remains tied with Washington for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

"We played two entirely different halves," Cavaliers coach Mike Fratello said. "In the first half we were aggressive and concentrated on both ends, while in the second half we had mental lapses on defense.

"If we're going to make the playoffs, we have to do a better job."

The Bulls played without their top reserve, forward Toni Kukoc, who reinjured his right foot before the game. But they got a much-needed lift with the debut of recently signed Brian Williams.

Williams saw action in the second and fourth quarters, finishing with six points and two rebounds in only eight minutes.

"I really appreciated the way that the fans welcomed me," said Williams, who played for the Los Angeles Clippers last sesaon. "The fans are really into their team here, not like the mild receptions you get in Los Angeles.

"I felt really good out there with the offense, but it's going to take a few weeks to get it down," Williams added. "I'm out of shape a little. I went out with a lot more anxiety and energy than wind. I wanted to go faster sometimes, but as soon as my lungs started burning, I was like walking in mud."

In the final seconds of the first half, Jordan made a tough 20-footer from the right baseline as he was fouled by Bob Sura. Before hitting the free throw, Jordan pointed into Sura's face and lectured the second-year guard.

"He's a feisty player and I like that," Jordan said. "I like a challenge. It elevated my game."

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