Michael Jordan, proving his one-man show can play in Hollywood, hit a spectacular go-ahead layup in overtime Friday night to send the Chicago Bulls to a 104-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Jordan's reverse layup around three defenders on the baseline put Chicago ahead 98-96 with 1:54 left, and the Bulls held on to regain the home-court advantage and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Jordan finished with 29 points, six in overtime.Chicago survived despite allowing an 18-2 third-quarter run by Los Angeles. The blitz gave the Lakers a 13-point bulge with 4:50 left in the period, but the Bulls battled back.
In another balanced Chicago effort, Horace Grant had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Scottie Pippen added 19 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lakers managed just 29 rebounds - an NBA Finals record - as the Bulls dominated the boards, grabbing 46 rebounds.
Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m. MDT at the Forum. If the Lakers win the championship, they'll have to return to Chicago Stadium to do it.
Sam Perkins, who had 25 points, hit two foul shots with 2:24 to play to tie it 96-96, but Jordan slipped along the baseline, went beneath the basket and banked in his shot to put Chicago ahead to stay.
Grant then put in a Jordan miss around a pair of Perkins' misfires for a 100-96 Chicago lead. Jordan canned two foul shots, with 53 seconds left, and the Lakers were done when Magic Johnson fired up an air ball with less than a minute to play.
Vlade Divac had 24 points, Johnson added 22 points and 10 assists and James Worthy 19 points for the Lakers. Jordan also had nine rebounds and nine assists.
Cliff Levingston provided the Bulls with an unexpected boost, collecting 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks in 20 minutes off the bench.
Los Angeles had the previous low for rebounds in a Finals game - 31 against Detroit in 1988.
Grant's basket, off the Bulls third rebound of the possession, had given Chicago a 90-87 edge with 67 seconds left in regulation. Perkins answered with a layup, and after Jordan missed, Divac picked up a loose ball in the lane and scored over Pippen to start a three-point play with 10.9 seconds left.
But Jordan - who missed a potential game-winning jumper in the closing seconds of Game 1 - would not miss this time. He dribbled almost the length of the court and sank a jumper with 3.4 seconds left to tie it 92-92, and Byron Scott's desperation shot missed at the buzzer to bring on overtime.
Scott, with just three field goals in the first two games, was 0 of 8 from the floor and 0 for 2 from the line.
Jordan's follow of his own miss gave the Bulls a 52-49 edge early in the third quarter, but Chicago would manage just two free throws and miss nine straight field-goal attempts over the final 6:20.
Meanwhile, the Lakers began working the ball inside for high-percentage shots. In the 18-2 run, all their points came from underneath, with Divac scoring four times, three off Johnson passes.
Perkins contributed six points to the blitz, and Los Angeles had a 67-54 bulge - and the sellout crowd of 17,505 in an uproar - with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
But Divac went out for a rest, and the Bulls regrouped, scoring the final six points to get within 72-66 entering the fourth quarter.
With 5:53 left in the second period, Chicago center Bill Cartwright delivered one of his patented elbows to the throat of Divac and went to the bench with his third foul. The Bulls, though, switched defensive assignments, putting Pippen on Johnson and Jordan on Divac, and reeled off an 8-0 run for a 43-39 lead.
In the spurt, Levingston hit a jumper, then set up a Jordan basket with a steal and a Scott Williams free throw with a rejection of Divac's layup.
On the next series, Levingston stole the ball again and the Bulls began a fastbreak. But Divac swiped a pass at halfcourt and Worthy scored to begin an 8-1 run, and the Lakers - despite being outrebounded 22-10 - trailed by only 48-27 at halftime.
Los Angeles, which made just 41 percent of its shots in Game 2, connected on 71.4 percent (10 of 14) of its attempts in the first quarter. But Jordan scored 11 points, Grant added 10 and the Bulls grabbed 11 of the 13 rebounds in the period to forge a 25-25 tie.