Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan skipped practice Saturday because of a bruised right toe, but he is expected to start tonight in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Jordan suffered the injury with 3.4 seconds left in regulation Friday night when he landed awkwardly after hitting the game-tying jumper that sent the contest into overtime. Chicago went on to win 104-96 and has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Jordan has led the Bulls in scoring in every game of the playoffs. However, none of the Bulls seemed overly concerned about Jordan's absence Saturday afternoon.
"It's tough for him to put his shoes on. We just want him off his feet," Chicago coach Phil Jackson said. "He will play (tonight)."
Bulls team physician John Hefferon said the injury occurred when Jordan landed on his toe instead of squarely on his foot. Jordan is receiving ice treatment and electric stimulation, and Hefferon instructed him to stay off the foot as much as possible before tipoff (7 p.m. EDT).
"I don't think it's broken. I think it's more tender on the tip of the toe," Hefferon said. "He's sore, but knowing him as I do, I'd be very surprised if he doesn't play well. He's been able to come back when he has bumps and bruises."
Lakers guard Byron Scott missed all eight of his shots and went scoreless in Game 3. It was only the third NBA game (regular season and playoffs) in eight seasons that he failed to score. The first was in 1983 against New York, and the most recent occurred in April against Utah.
Scott is shooting 3-of-14 in the championship series.
Scott has the toughest assignment on the team in the finals, trying to keep up with Jordan. Jordan shot 11-of-28 Friday night _ his poorest effort of the series.
Chicago outrebounded Los Angeles 46-29 in Game 3, the first significant edge of the series. Chicago outrebounded Los Angeles 39-37 and 36-34 in the first two games. Chicago outscored the Lakers 21-16 from the foul line in Game 3, after being outscored by the Lakers 28-14 and 21-7 in the first two games. Sam Perkins' five blocks were a career playoff high. Other playoff career-highs set Friday night: Vlade Divac (24 points), Horace Grant (22 points), Scottie Pippen (13 rebounds).