Michael Jordan, whether he realizes it or not, has drawn a line between himself and his teammates. Most of the blame for the Bulls' loss in Game 1 fell on Jordan's so-called "supporting cast," which is how the league's most valuable player refers to the rest of the players.
Coach Phil Jackson and some of the Bulls might feel snubbed, but Jordan is too focused on the championship series to notice.
"They've got to want to (step forward)," Jordan said. "I'll be glad to pass them the ball. But when they get the ball they've got to want to take the shot."
Lakers have edge
It's official. Jordan finally admits the Lakers have an advantage over the Bulls.
"It's that fearlessness to take shots in pressure situations," Jordan said. "Sam (Perkins) took that shot (in Game 1), and I'm sure his experience in the Olympics and the NCAA championships had an effect. He could accept missing that shot and still be strong mentally and positive for the next game. That's an advantage I feel they have over us. It's something we'll have to find within ourselves to do."
Bulls are injury free
Stats compiled by the Philadelphia 76ers' Harvey Pollack show Chicago lost fewer games _ 20 _ to injury than any other NBA club during the regular season.
None of the players have missed a game because of injury during the playoffs either.
The club has not said whether the players will vote a full playoff share to trainer Chip Schaefer.
Making the pitch
Magic Johnson is spokesman for NBA Authentic wear. His new NBA T-shirt is the sixth-biggest seller of league apparel.
Here's the irony: Johnson makes money on T-shirts with Jordan's likeness.
"It's like I've always said. Magic Johnson is a genius on and off the court," Chicago forward Horace Grant said.
Bucking the trends
Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy said his year away from basketball working on Wall Street in the early 1980s helped him readjust his thinking on the NBA.
"On Wall Street you try not to buck the trends," Dunleavy said. "I wanted to push the ball, but the game had become based on defense and post-up."
The Bulls played Do You Believe in Magic? on the public address system at the start of Sunday's game. It was quickly turned off when fans booed, perhaps thinking of the Lakers' Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The song was not played at the start of Wednesday's game.
Europe fans tougher
Vlade Divac, the Lakers' starting center by way of Yugoslavia, said the fans in Europe are tougher than the rowdies at Chicago Stadium.
"They can hurt you," Divac said. "They throw chairs and everything."
_ JOHN HARRIS