Advantage Chicago. But for how long? Granted, the Bulls changed the course of the 1991 NBA Finals with a dominating 21-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night.
But as Chicago coach Phil Jackson already indicated, this series has taken on the look of a chess match with both coaches changing strategy on the fly and attacking any apparent weakness from the opponent.
First, the Lakers drained the shot clock in Game 1, establishing their low post offense and ball control attack.
Then, the Bulls countered in Game 2 with a key switch in personnel, moving Michael Jordan to point guard and having Scottie Pippen guard Magic Johnson.
The next move, the Lakers' move, is anyone's guess. Perhaps the referees will determine the flow of the game. Pippen was permitted to aggressively defend Johnson at Chicago Stadium. But he could be hampered if the officials allow less physical contact on the Lakers home court.
Incidentally, foul trouble has helped influence the first two games.
In Game 1, Pippen and Jordan both had five fouls and lost some of their defensive intensity. In Game 2, Lakers forward Sam Perkins picked up two early fouls and was never a factor. Perkins hit the game-winning three-pointer in Game 1.
_ JOHN HARRIS