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Thursday, June 4, 1998

Bulls forced to dance, 88-85

AP Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY, June 4 -- Game 1 of the NBA Finals was a
Utah victory, Chicago-style.

As they marched to their five championships of the 1990s,
the Bulls won big games by doing just enough, making the
crucial plays down the stretch, overcoming all adversity,
getting all the necessary breaks.

On Wednesday night, when Karl Malone's jump shot was
wandering somewhere in the Wasatch Range, when Chicago
rallied in the fourth quarter to force an overtime, the
stage was set for another remarka-Bull triumph.

A year ago, in Game 1 of the finals against the Jazz,
Michael Jordan hit the game-winner over Bryon Russell.

But in this intense opener, John Stockton made a running
floater over Steve Kerr and two free throws in the final 10
seconds of overtime for an 88-85 Utah victory.

``You watch Chicago, and they've won games just like
this,'' Malone said, ``where they really didn't play well,
they didn't shoot the basketball well, and they won the

The Bulls were uncharacteristically rattled in the
overtime, committing three turnovers, including an
unthinkable 24-second violation when Jordan, of all people,
lost track of time.

The Bulls knew they had kicked away a huge opportunity to
take the road game they must get in Salt Lake City if they
are to keep their crown.

``I couldn't ask for a better game and a better opportunity
to win on their court, and we feel like we let one slip
away,'' Chicago coach Phil Jackson said. ``It's obvious we
had our chances, and it took a heck of a shot by John
Stockton at the end to extinguish our hopes.''

They'll get another chance in Game 2 Friday night.

Stockton, at age 36, usually isn't a big scorer anymore. He
leaves that to Malone and the crowd of younger players the
Jazz have assembled. But on this night, when Malone was
misfiring, Stockton took the offensive load himself.

He finished with 24 points, his playoff high this year,
along with eight assists.

The Jazz won even though Malone missed a dozen or so jump
shots before he finally made two crucial ones in the fourth
quarter. He finished 9-for-25 from the field for 21 points.

``In the past, when I didn't have a great game, we lost,''
Malone said. ``This team has matured a lot. Here, in the
playoffs, when I haven't played well, we still managed to
win, and that's really neat to see when you're trying to win
a championship.''

The Bulls lost Game 1 only once in their five title years
-- against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991. Chicago won the
next four.

Seven years later, the much older Bulls were weary from a
seven-game struggle with Indiana in the Eastern Conference
finals. Still, they almost pulled it off against the
well-rested, if slightly rusty, Jazz.

Jordan had a magnificent 15-point second quarter, but
managed only 13 in the second half to finish with 33. Pippen
scored 21 on 7-for-19 shooting.

But the rest of the Bulls were little help, and none of
them could hit from long range. Chicago was 3-of-16 on

The Bulls never led after the first quarter, but were never
down more than eight.

Trailing 67-59 entering the final quarter, the Bulls
rallied behind -- who else? -- Jordan. He sank consecutive
jumpers to cut Utah's lead to 75-72 then, after yet another
Malone miss, Pippen sank a wide-open 3-pointer from the top
of the key to tie it 75-75.

Malone's two jumpers put Utah up 79-75 with 55 seconds left
in regulation.

Pippen made two free throws to make it 79-77, and after
Russell missed, Chicago got the ball to Jordan. He drove
across the key, but the shot wasn't there. Instead, he
passed to Luc Longley, who scored to tie it with 14 seconds

Stockton missed a wild shot from the corner, and the game
went into overtime.

The Jazz scored the first five points of the overtime on
Malone's layup and Stockton's three-point play.

Down 84-82, Chicago had a chance to tie, but as Jordan
drove to the basket, Utah's Greg Ostertag blocked his path.
Jordan had to pass the ball out, and the 24-second clock

``It was a mental lapse,'' Jordan said. ``We had our play
set and I think Scottie got confused in terms of what the
play was, so we had to start it back over again. The next
thing you know we had a 24-second violation. I didn't know
how much time was left. Nobody knew how much time was

Stars get longshot win

DALLAS, June 4 (AP) -- No NHL team has won consecutive
Stanley Cups since Pittsburgh did it in 1992.

Wednesday night's game between the defending champion
Detroit Red Wings and the Dallas Stars illustrates just how
bumpy the road can be.

A hockey version of a ``Hail Mary'' pass beat Detroit 3-2 in
overtime to keep the Stars alive in their Western Conference

Jamie Langenbrunner's 70-foot slap shot from beyond the blue
line sent the series back to Detroit on Friday night for
Game 6, with the Red Wings wondering what happened to goalie
Chris Osgood.

Dallas is trying to beat tremendous odds to get into the
Stanley Cup finals. No team has ever overcome a 3-to-1
deficit in the conference finals.

Langenbrunner's hot shot came just 46 seconds into the
overtime. He let fly inside the red line, and the puck took
several little hops on the soft ice and beat Osgood on his
stick side.

Detroit captain Steve Yzerman quickly rushed to Osgood's

``We're not worried aobut Chris,'' Yzerman said in the
hushed Detroit dressing room. ``We have confidence in him.
We knew we wouldn't have an easy time playing in Dallas. ''

Langenbrunner, who was at the end of his shift and getting
ready to head to the bench, couldn't believe his good
fortune that produced his first goal of the playoffs.

``I was definitely surprised it went in,'' Langenbrunner
said. ``I was just trying to get a shot on net. I just
crossed the red line and shot. ''

Langenbrunner said the Stars knew Osgood gave up some long
distance goals in earlier playoff games.

``You watch the other series and see what goes in,''
Langenbrunner said. ``Our style against any goalie is to get
the puck to the net. I don't know if I've ever had one from
that far. It's been a tough playoff for me. I've been robbed
several times.''

Osgood said the puck took a crazy bounce.

``The puck curled up my stick, and when it got past, I knew
it was in. There wasn't much I could do,'' Osgood said as he
hurried to the team bus.

Detroit coach Scotty Bowman refused to blame his goalie.

``We lose as a team,'' Bowman said. ``We won two at home, so
we know we can win there. We just have to start the game
with an open mind. We can't think about what happened. We
were trying to protect the lead and we made some mistakes.''

Detroit's Brent Gilchrist, who used to play for Dallas, said
the Stars deserved the win.

``I thought they played a good game and deserved to win,''
Gilchrist said. ``They had a lot of pressure on us in the
third period, and Chris played unbelievable to keep us
there. It's too bad we couldn't hang on.''

Guy Carbonneau's wrist shot into the upper left-hand corner
of the net beat Osgood on his glove side to tie the game 2-2
with 1:25 left.

``I was trying to create a chance. You're desperate in that
situation,'' Carbonneau said. ``I was just trying to shoot
it at the net. Nobody wanted the season to be over.''

``We caught a break with the overtime goal, but we battled
hard and that's the way we have to play,'' Dallas coach Ken
Hitchcock said. ``Our persistence paid off. Now we get to
fight another day.''

Igor Larionov's goal at 16:20 in the second period appeared
to be the game-winner until the 38-year-old Carbonneau,
playing in his 190th playoff game, scored.

``Those two goals saved our life and saved my life,'' Dallas
goalie Ed Belfour said. ``It was a breath of fresh air for
me. I'd like to have the Larionov goal back.''

Dallas scored first on a rebound shot by Mike Keane late in
the opening period, but Detroit matched it on Tomas
Holmstrom's rebound shot.

Bowman, who has coached seven Stanley Cup champions, said
the Red Wings learned a valuable lesson.

``I think we know now that you have to play 60 minutes to
win a game,'' he said.

Abila winds up undrafted by White Sox

PECOS, June 4 -- "Wait `til next year" was the old cry for
Brooklyn Dodgers fans when the Wolrd Series didn't go their
way, and the same saying applies to former Pecos Eagles'
pitcher Jason Abila today.

Abila, who signed in late April to play baseball at Ranger
Junior College after four years on the Eagles' varsity, was
also told by the Chicago White Sox they would pick him in
the major league baseball amateur draft. But when the final
25 rounds of the draft were completed Wednesday, Abila's
name wasn't among the 1,444 high school and college players

Only a handful of players from the area were among those
drafted, and out of that, just three were high school
players -- Odessa High pitcher Mario Gardea in the 25th
round by the New York Yankees; his teammate, first baseman
Humberto Aguilar by the Cincinnati Reds in the 28th round;
and San Angelo Central outfielder Julio Guerrero, who the
White Sox did draft in the 44th round.

By signing with a junior college, Abila will again be
eligible for the draft after his freshman season at Ranger.
Players at four-year schools must wait until after their
junior year to be eligible for the major league draft.

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