Bulls Beat Orlando, Close on Wins Mark

NEW YORK -- It looks like the Chicago Bulls may reach 70 wins with a week to spare.


The Bulls took another step toward eclipsing the best record in National Basketball Association history by beating the Magic 90-86 in Orlando Sunday.


With eight games left in the regular season, the Bulls need just four more victories to reach 70 and outdo the best record in NBA history -- 69-13 by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Charlotte, Philadelphia and New Jersey are Chicago's next three opponents, so the Bulls would seem to have a great shot at getting No. 70 next Sunday at Cleveland.


Given the fact that Orlando entered the game with the second best home record in the league, trailing only Chicago's 37-0 mark at home this season, Sunday's game figured to be as tough as any the Bulls have played.


The Bulls had their problems, too, scoring only 15 points in the fourth quarter. But Michael Jordan hit a tough turn-around jumper with just under a minute left to put Chicago up for good at 88-86.


The Magic had a chance to go for the tie or the win in the final 10 seconds, but Anfernee Hardaway missed a driving shot in the lane. Shaquille O'Neal grabbed the rebound, but perhaps thinking the buzzer was about to sound, rushed his shot and threw up an airball.


"It was a sweet win. I think it shows the character of this team," said Jordan, who finished with 27 points. "In the second half we lost control, yet we were able to get it down the stretch."


The Magic have lost three of four in Orlando since their then-record 40-game home-court winning streak was snapped by the Los Angeles Lakers on March 26.


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Robert Parish appeared in his 1,561st NBA game in Cleveland, breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record.


The 42-year-old Charlotte center, who has played on three NBA championship teams and eight All-Star teams, broke the record Saturday night when the opening jump ball went up.


Parish is best remembered for his instrumental role as center for the dominant Boston Celtics team of the 1980s.


The Hornets honored "The Chief" with a 93-89 defeat of the Cavs.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)