Michael Jordan's incredible scoring circus has been closed down for the season, but not before he single-handedly pumped more excitement into a playoff series than anyone had a right to expect. On the surface, the National Basketball Association's first-round match-up between the lowly Chicago Bulls (30-52 during the regular season) and the far-superior Boston Celtics promised nothing special, at least not from the Bulls. In fact, Chicago did succumb in three straight games.
Jordan, however, put on a show, a ``really big shew,'' as Ed Sullivan would have called it.
Figuring they had to adopt a radical strategy, the Bulls basically said, ``Here's the ball, Michael, do your thing.'' And, boy, did he, scoring 49 points in the first game, including 30 in the first half; an amazing 63, breaking Elgin Baylor's 24-year-old playoff record in the second; and a more down-to-earth 19 when the series shifted to Chicago for Game 3, a contest he exited early with six fouls.
The only close game was the second one, which went to two overtimes before the Celtics prevailed, 135-131. Jordan forced the first OT by canning a pair of pressure-packed free throws after time had expired in regulation.
Where he was most sensational, however, was in isolation against various Celtic defenders. Since NBA rules dictate the use of man-to-man defenses, Chicago created ``clearouts,'' giving Jordan room to operate with pullup jump shots and spectacular drives to the basket. By Game 3, the Celtics were double-teaming him and cutting off his driving lanes, spelling ``good night'' for the Bulls.
But it was fun while it lasted, a real turn-on even to Boston fans, who figured they'd seen everything watching Larry Bird the last seven years. Jordan, a 6 ft. 6 in. guard, had missed 20 weeks of the season with a foot injury and returned to the lineup in mid-March against the advice of his agent and the team's management. Louganis's blooper The expression ``it happens to the best of them'' couldn't have been more true than it was last weekend in the United States indoor diving championships, where the sport's top athlete actually scored a zero on one dive. Fortunately for three-time world champion Greg Louganis, the blunder occurred in the preliminary round at Indianapolis and didn't carry over to the 3-meter springboard finals, which he won. Louganis also benefited from a rule change that increased the number of divers in this year's final from eight to 12. He recovered from his missed dive to finish 11th in the preliminaries.