Look out, NBA. The Chicago Bulls are off to an even better start than last season's.
For the first time in franchise history, the Bulls have opened a season with a 6-0 record. The latest victory came Saturday night, 104-92 over the Boston Celtics.Last year, the Bulls lost their sixth after a 5-0 start. They still went on to set an NBA record with 72 victories before capturing their fourth championship of the 1990s.
"I think we are better," said Michael Jordan, who scored 27 points despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter. "We're better from a knowledge standpoint. Physically, OK, we have that extra year of beating on our bodies, but we only can get better because of playing together for a period of time.
"We have a sense of expectation from each other and our roles are pretty much set, and that makes us a better team."
Could being better translate to 72 wins - or more?
"I don't want to start looking forward to winning 72-plus games or whatever, but if we're able to stay healthy, if we're able to go the distance, the sky's the limit," said Scottie Pippen, who had 12 rebounds and 11 assists but missed the triple-double by scoring only nine points on 4-of-16 shooting.
Toni Kukoc added 21 points in 25 minutes for the Bulls, who have beaten Boston nine consecutive times. Luc Longley was bothered by tendinitis in his knees and coach Phil Jackson said the center might go on the disabled list.
Todd Day scored 20 points for the Celtics, who had 27 turnovers in losing for the fourth time in their first five games. Two of their losses have been to the Bulls, who have scored 55 points off 45 turnovers in the games.
"We've played Chicago two decent games, but not enough to beat them," Boston coach M.L. Carr said. "Coming out in the second half, we made costly turnovers and this team will capitalize. Still, I've got to be proud of the guys the way they came in here after that loss last night" to Philadelphia.
Chicago fell behind 43-33 midway through the second quarter before Randy Brown came off the bench and sparked a 19-3 run with his defense, hustle and five points.
Boston went up 55-54 early in the third, but the Bulls used a 16-4 surge to go ahead for good. Jordan scored eight points and Robert Parish, the 43-year-old former Celtic, added four.
Bucks 100, Hornets 98
At Charlotte, N.C., Milwaukee got a rare victory in Charlotte on as Vin Baker had 28 points and 12 rebounds to help the Bucks rally to defeat the Hornets.
Glenn Robinson added 20 points for the Bucks, who overcame 71-percent shooting by the Hornets in the second quarter to win for just the third time in 11 games at Charlotte.
Dell Curry had 23 points for the Hornets, who came in with a 3-1 record, the best start in the franchise's nine-year history.
Charlotte shot 66 percent in the first half but cooled off to 30 percent after the break, enabling Milwaukee to force eight lead changes and six ties.
The last deadlock came when Charlotte's Matt Geiger sank the first of two free throws, missed the second, got his own rebound and made a layup to knot it at 96 with 1:46 remaining.
Baker converted a three-point play 18 seconds later to put the Bucks ahead to stay.
The Hornets also got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Anthony Mason and 18 points from Rice.
76ers 112, Suns 95
At Philadelphia, Jerry Stackhouse scored a career-high 36 points and Derrick Coleman added 14 as Philadelphia handed the winless Suns their fifth straight loss.
Stackhouse, averaging only 9.8 points over the first three games, hit on 11 of 21 shots. Mark Davis had 14 points and Lucious Harris 12, for Philadelphia, while Clarence Weatherspoon pulled down 15 rebounds.
Michael Finley had 25 points for the Suns, who are off to their worse start since 1985-86 - the season they dropped their first nine games.
Pacers 103, Bullets 100, OT
At Indianapolis, Travis Best came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points and lead Indiana to its first victory of the season.
Best, who lost his starting point guard job to Haywoode Workman earlier in the week, scored six points in the final two minutes of regulation and two more in overtime.
Workman suffered an apparent season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter.
Chris Webber had 25 for Washington, but he missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into double overtime.
Heat 91, Mavericks 84
At Dallas, Alonzo Mourning hit two key baskets down the stretch and Dan Majerle sealed the victory with a 3-pointer with 1:38 to play as the Miami Heat handed the Dallas Mavericks their fourth straight defeat.
Majerle and Tim Hardaway led Miami (4-1) with 19 points each, and Hardaway added seven assists and six steals. Kurt Thomas had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Jamal Mashburn scored 19 points and Chris Gatling added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas (1-4).
Kings 103, Trail Blazers 102
At Sacramento, Lionel Simmons made two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to cap a wild final few seconds and give the Sacramento Kings a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The lead changed hands four times in the final 28 seconds. Two free throws by Arvydas Sabonis put the Blazers in front 102-101 with 5.9 seconds left.
After a timeout, Cliff Robinson deflected the inbounds pass at midcourt, but he fouled Simmons as both went for the ball. The Blazers had one last chance to score, but Kenny Anderson threw up a wild running jumper from 14 feet that missed badly.