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Thursday, May 28, 1998

Bulls run over Pacers, 106-87

AP Basketball Writer
CHICAGO, May 28 -- These were the Chicago Bulls playing like
it was 1996 or 1997 again. There was no whining, no
first-quarter doldrums, no wishy-washy finish.

This was ruthless.

The Bulls had been challenged, and they responded like it
was finally time to get serious.

With an attack that was quick, decisive and devastating, the
Bulls wiped out the Indiana Pacers 106-87 Wednesday night in
a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score
indicated -- even with a 19-point margin of victory.

``We took it to them. we wanted to see how they'd respond,''
said Michael Jordan, who scored 29 points to reach an even
35,000 for his career in regular season and playoff games.
``They didn't respond like we expected. We just dominated.''

Indeed, they did.

An early 14-0 run gave Chicago a double-digit lead, there
was a 25-point differential before halftime and a 33-point
bulge early in the fourth. By the time the end came, Jordan
was having his knees iced on the bench, Scottie Pippen was
already perusing the boxscore and little-used Bulls like Jud
Buechler and Dickey Simpkins were padding their stats.

``Tonight we just came out a little more hungry, came out
more aggressive and more determined -- and it showed on the
scoreboard,'' Pippen said.

Jordan shot 12-for-20 with seven rebounds and four assists
as he led the team in scoring for the 13th time in 13
playoff games. Pippen finished with 20 points, eight
rebounds and seven assists and Toni Kukoc added 19 points as
the Bulls avoided their first three-game losing streak with
Jordan on the team since the fall of 1990.

The Pacers shot only 34 percent and made just 23 baskets --
two more than the playoff record-low of 21.

``All 11 guys who suited up should be embarrassed,'' said
Reggie Miller, who had 14 points to share high-scoring
honors with Travis Best.

``Deep down I thought they were going to come in and lay it
all on the line,'' Pacers coach Larry Bird said of his team.
``But tonight they just didn't play. For what reason I have
no idea.''

The Bulls took control midway through the first quarter with
a 14-0 run, turning a 10-7 deficit into a 21-10 lead.

Gone were the smug smiles the Bulls wore through the first
four games, replaced by the cold stares of fierce
competitors. Even when the referees slapped Pippen and
Dennis Rodman with quick-trigger technical fouls, nothing
could take away from the Bulls' focus.

Pippen, Jordan and Kukoc scored all the points in the early
14-0 run, and Chicago led 29-16 after one quarter.

A layup by Jordan gave Chicago its first 20-point lead,
39-19 with 7:15 left in the second quarter.

Rik Smits scored on a 10-foot jumper with 6:17 left, giving
Indiana its first basket since 8:24 remained in the first

Chicago responded with energy and emotion, getting
three-point plays from Luc Longley and Ron Harper to up the
lead to 25.

The third quarter quickly became showtime as Indiana failed
to mount any kind of a comeback. Kukoc had the
highlight-reel play of the night, throwing an
around-the-back pass to Jordan on a 3-on-1 break for a dunk
by Jordan that made it 74-45.

A jumper by Kukoc with 2:49 left gave Chicago an 80-50 lead.
The Bulls were up 31 heading into the fourth and held their
largest lead, 89-56, with 11:39 left in the game.

``Tonight was unexpected dominance,'' Jordan said. ``We
didn't expect that. We took it to them and wanted to see how
they would respond, and they didn't respond like we
expected. We just dominated them.''

``It was a dynamic first half in terms of aggression,''
coach Phil Jackson said. ``Friday's game is going to be a
different matter. We're going to have to perfect our game,
bring it up to another level. That is the goal and
aspiration of this team right now.

Game 6 is Friday night, and the Bulls will be looking to
clinch their third straight trip to the NBA Finals and a
possible second three-peat for their sixth championship this

Game 7, if necessary, is Sunday night.

``Chicago comes out and plays strong all the time, that's
why they're champions,'' Bird said. ``I'm sure we'll bounce
back. Knowing this team, they bounce back pretty well. They
won't want their season to end on a note like this.''

WAC-ed out eight name leader

FORT COLLINS, Colo., May 28 (AP) -- Colorado State
University President Albert Yates, who led eight schools in
defecting from the 16-team Western Athletic Conference, will
be point man as the schools figure out what's next.

``We had a conference call this morning and pretty much
agreed on me,'' Yates said Wednesday. ``So I was drafted to
act as coordinator over the next few months to try to do the
things we need to do.''

There are several items on the agenda, including choosing an
acting commissioner and legalizing and naming the new

``We need something like an interim commissioner to assist
primarily in looking for opportunities to generate revenues
-- television contracts and bowl agreements and such,'' he
said, ``in addition to looking at how to achieve an
association with the Super Alliance, and those things need
to be pursued fairly quickly.''

Yates, as chairman of the WAC board of directors, was one of
the leaders behind the decision to leave the conference.

On Tuesday, Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, UNLV,
New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah and Wyoming announced
plans to leave the WAC after the 1998-99 academic year.

The schools cited the loss of traditional rivalries, rising
travel costs and insufficient revenue growth as reasons for
the abandonment.

The WAC is the nation's largest collegiate league, spanning
3,900 miles and four time zones.

Yates said the presidents remain firm in wanting to start
the new league with no more than nine teams, but that he had
received calls from other conferences ``wanting to talk
about how we might combine.''

Little League sets fun night for Saturday

PECOS, May 28 -- The Pecos Little League will be holding its
annual fun night this Saturday at Chano Prieto Field.

Games will be set up at the field from 7 to 11 p.m. Door
prizes will also be given out, and Junja Jam will be
providing music during the four hour event.

There will be no games on Saturday, with regular league
play resuming on Monday.

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