Already entrusted with doing Scottie Pippen's job, Michael Jordan decided to take on Dennis Rodman's, too.
Jordan augmented his 29 points with 17 rebounds Wednesday night as the Bulls beat Orlando 94-81.
"That's just part of my leadership role, part of my responsibility. I accept that," Jordan said. "I play like I know how and help out in a lot of areas.
"Dennis is not starting, so I make a concentrated effort to go to the boards. We as a team have to take that same approach and not rely on him to do all the rebounding."
Jordan played 41 minutes two nights after going 48 minutes in a double-overtime win over San Antonio. He has had to carry the load for the two-time defending champions, who will be without the injured Pippen for about two more months.
"It's a method of getting me into game shape, playing these minutes," said Jordan, whose team is 3-0 since opening with a loss at Boston. "I'm not worried about getting tired. When Scottie comes back, that'll relieve my duties and I'll get some rest. But until then "
Jordan's 17 rebounds were one shy of his career high. He helped the Bulls outrebound the Magic 45-38.
"We've got some big, strong people, but we don't rebound," Orlando coach Chuck Daly said. "We don't jump. We don't score. We struggle in both areas. I search and search, and some nights I get a few answers. But not enough. That's why we're 1-3."
Rony Seikaly's 34 points and Penny Hardaway's 20 were not enough to keep the Magic from its worst start since 1992-93 _ Shaquille O'Neal's rookie year and the Magic's last non-playoff season. It was a rough 26 hours for Orlando, which lost 110-76 Tuesday at Milwaukee.
Losing to the Bulls is nothing new for the Magic.
Including a sweep in the 1996 Eastern Conference finals, Chicago has beaten Orlando 11 straight times by an average score of 104-88.
"We're very familiar with their players," Jordan said. "We've had some great success. It's a good rivalry right now, knowing how talented they are, so we tend to focus on them."
Jordan scored eight straight points to help the Bulls build a 71-51 lead with 4:16 left in the third quarter.
The Magic trailed 78-60 late in the quarter before Seikaly made a baseline jumper to start a 12-0 run capped by Hardaway's three-pointer, pulling Orlando within six.
Chicago followed with a 10-2 spurt, including two hard-driving layups by Jordan, to go up 88-74. The Bulls had double-digit leads the rest of the way.
The Magic shot 28 percent in the first half and 34 percent for the game.
"There is a lot of pressure on me to go out each night and produce. If I don't, we lose," said Hardaway, who was 6-of-19 from the field.
"Right now, this team isn't putting the ball in the hole. That makes it tougher for me."