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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulls Smother Sonics to Take 3-0 Lead

SEATTLE -- The Seattle SuperSonics, credible the first two games, finally fell into place as the newest toy for the Chicago Bulls to knock around, a few days behind schedule but still time enough for Dennis Rodman to play his mind games and Michael Jordan to play such as no other.


Sunday marked the Bulls' third win in as many tries in these NBA finals, putting them a victory away from a series sweep and a fourth title in six seasons, but the first outing in which they seemed imposing or satisfied with the showing. That must have made this a belated coming-out party, the 32-12 start that became a 108-86 rout of the SuperSonics before 17,072 at Key Arena.


"I'll be honest," Seattle Coach George Karl said. "This is the first time I've seen Chicago with killer eyes in this series. I saw them like that once, in Portland a long time ago."


Like four years ago, during another championship series.


"Right now," Karl continued, "you've got emotional and psychological barriers in front of us the next couple days. There's a lot of good things about sports. But right now, we're learning some bad things about sports."


And then there were the things they already knew:


?Jordan is good.


He had 28 and 29 points, respectively, in the first two games at the United Center, but was also a combined 18 of 40 from the field and the first to say he was unimpressive.


Sunday, he had 12 points in the first quarter, then really warmed up, just as the SuperSonics had tried to climb back into the game by cutting the deficit to 45-31 in the second quarter. Before they got any real ideas, -- Jordan floored it.


Two free throws. Two more free throws. Hanging 10-foot jump shot in the lane. Open 17-foot jump shot from the left side. Straight-away three-point basket, about 26 feet out. Jump shot from 18 feet on the left side. Two more free throws.


In a span of eight possessions, interrupted only by Scottie Pippen's miss, Jordan was four of four from the field and six of six from the line and scored 15 consecutive points for the Bulls on his way to a game-high 36. That made it 60-38.


"You could see it," Pippen said. "His shot, his intensity. Everything was just rolling for him."


Said Karl: "We got hit with a lot of hammers tonight. One of them was Michael's explosion."


?Rodman is all-knowing, psychologically superior and pretty cool.


Just ask him.


He was coming off Friday's 20-rebound game, had only 10 in Game 3, but made his mark elsewhere. Much to his delight, it was baiting Frank Brickowski into another ejection, just as in Game 1, even if it was in the fourth quarter when garbage time was about three weeks old.


"All of a sudden, the Seattle SuperSonics got totally out of their game. Totally," Rodman said. "They weren't even trying to play. They were just so worried about what I'm doing, and that's why I kept saying it's all a mind game. It's all a mind game. If you want to get caught up in what I'm doing, you're screwed."


Much like the first Rodman-Brickowski encounter, Dennis took a forearm in the upper body or neck while going for a rebound, then took a flop. Brickowski was called for a flagrant foul and given two technicals and a seat in the locker room. Long ago frustrated by what he perceives as unfair treatment from officials, he simply walked off the court without hesitation.


Nonetheless, Rodman was pleased with his contribution. Now he'll be in a good mood for his schedule leading up to Wednesday's possible clincher: Do a TV interview with Cindy Crawford, hang out with Pearl Jam (the Seattle-based band and his favorite group), smoke a cigar, "maybe take a Jacuzzi."


Most all the Bulls have earned at least one of the above. Jordan, much more.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)