As always, Jordan foils Knicks


Larry Johnson drives past Luc Longley for a nifty layup.
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Scottie Pippen saves the ball -- and the game -- with a quick timeout.
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Michael Jordan says his brotherly relationship with Scottie Pippen keyed Chicago's victory.
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Jeff Van Gundy didn't find any redeeming qualities in the Knicks' performance.
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Larry Johnson knows exactly where he faltered on Thursday.
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Box score | Game recap | Game Flow

NEW YORK -- Michael Jordan scored 20 of his 34 points in the final 7½ minutes and Luc Longley sank two free throws with 5.4 seconds remaining, rallying the Chicago Bulls to a 105-103 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday.

Bulls graphic
The Bulls can tie their own record of 72 victories if they win their final four games.

"When it came time to assert myself, I did it in the fourth quarter," Jordan said. "That was the story of the game."

New York's loss allowed the Miami Heat to clinch the Atlantic Division title. Miami defeated Detroit 15 minutes before the Bulls-Knicks game ended.

The Bulls (68-10) have won five in a row and 13 of 14 as they continue their march to a second consecutive 70-win season. Chicago, which has already clinched home-court advantage throughout the postseason, can match its NBA record of 72 wins with victories in its last four games.

"We're still taking them one at a time and letting 'em add up," Jordan said. "If they add up to 72, fine. If not, we still have the playoffs to look forward to."

Jordan, limited to 14 points over the first three quarters, was unstoppable down the stretch. When he finally missed a foul-line jumper in the waning seconds, Longley grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. He sank both shots, snapping a 103-103 tie.

Chris Childs missed a driving layup on the Knicks' final possession. Charles Oakley grabbed the offensive rebound but couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

Chicago's Scottie Pippen scored 33 points, but only two in the fourth quarter.

Buck Williams can't stop Michael Jordan from making a layup.

"For the first three quarters I wasn't doing anything," Jordan said. "Scottie was trying to prove something, and we let him prove it. I would do the same thing if I was in his shoes.

"It was like letting your little brother fight his own fight. When he got tired, big brother stepped in and helped him out."

Patrick Ewing scored 20 points and Larry Johnson had 19 for the Knicks. John Starks and Allan Houston scored 15 points apiece, Oakley had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Childs added 12 points and 12 assists.

The Knicks, who have lost three consecutive home games for the first time this season, opened an 87-78 lead on Ewing's jumper with 9:09 remaining.

Chicago cut its deficit to six points -- and then Jordan heated up.

Jordan made four consecutive jumpers, including a 3-pointer, to pull Chicago within one point, 91-90, with 5:14 to go. Childs made a 3-pointer, but baskets by Longley and Jordan tied the score with 4:12 left.

"We let it get away and Michael got hot," Childs said. "We got away from what got us the lead -- challenging shots and playing physical. He got into a rhythm and got comfortable and hit some shots."

Two free throws by Johnson gave the Knicks a 100-95 lead with 2:31 to play, but Jordan made two jumpers and four foul shots to pull Chicago into a 103-103 tie with 43 seconds remaining.

Pippen made a steal on the next possession, calling timeout as he fell out of bounds with 26 seconds left.

The ball went to Jordan after the timeout. He faked Starks off his feet to get an open 18-footer, but the ball rimmed out. Longley grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Ewing.

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