The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks will bring perfect playoff records into their second-round series.
They completed 3-0 sweeps in their best-of-5 opening-round series Wednesday night, with the Bulls routing the Miami Heat 112-91 and the Knicks defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 81-76.Their best-of-7 second-round series opens Sunday in Chicago, where the Bulls are 41-2 this season.
"We can't celebrate because I think everybody has already forgotten about the game we just played," said Patrick Ewing, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks. "All anybody will talk about is the Bulls."
Jordan, playing with a painful back injury, scored 26 points, and Scottie Pippen had a triple-double as the Bulls manhandled the Heat in Miami.
"I can't see anybody getting in their way," said Heat coach Pat Riley, who failed to reach the second round for the first time in his 14-year coaching career.
Jordan strained his back for the second straight game but said he expects to be ready for the Knicks.
"It was tough getting loose," he said. "Once I got loose, I felt pretty good. Every now and then when I twisted, I could feel the pull."
Pippen had 22 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. His rebound total tied a career high.
"Scottie picked it up a notch," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. "He knew he had to be an initiator because of Michael's back."
Chicago dominated the series, winning the three games by an average of 23 points.
"It was thorough," Riley said. "I know how bad we feel and how bad a lot of people in this town feel about the show we put on tonight."
Miami center Alonzo Mourning, who struggled in the first two games, scored 30 points in Game 3 but wasn't satisfied. "It's not a good feeling at all," he said.
The Knicks survived a terrible fourth quarter and a premature celebration at Madison Square Garden to gain their first playoff sweep since 1989.
"In order to beat Chicago, we're going to have to play very consistent basketball for 48 minutes, but I do like the way we held together and made big shots down the stretch," Knicks guard Derek Harper said.
John Starks, who finished with 22 points, grinned and waved five fingers in the face of Cavs coach Mike Fratello after Cleveland's Terrell Brandon picked up his fifth foul near the end of the third quarter.
The Knicks led by 13 at the time, but Cleveland rallied to tie it at 70 with 4:51 left in the game. New York came back to take a five-point lead on Starks' fifth 3-pointer and held on for the win.
"We were up against a very desperate team trying to get back in the game," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
Suns 94, Spurs 93
At Phoenix, Kevin Johnson made a key layup with 1:48 left, and the Suns survived two last-second shots by San Antonio to stay alive in the series.
Johnson's driving layup gave the Suns a 94-91 lead. David Robinson, who scored 13 of his 22 points in the last quarter, made a layup with 1:30 left to pull the Spurs within one. John Williams fouled Robinson with 8.8 seconds left, but the Suns weren't over the foul limit.
After the ensuing inbounds pass, Vinny Del Negro missed a long jumper for the Spurs, and Charles Barkley batted the rebound outside to Sean Elliott, who missed another jumper that could have won it for San Antonio.
Barkley led Phoenix with 25 points, while Elliott scored 20 for San Antonio, which is 1-13 at America West Arena.