The Detroit Pistons figure to display their best shots when they take on the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of their best-of-7 Eastern Conference playoffs tonight.
Chicago's Michael Jordan calls it "cheap shots.""That's the nature of the game," Jordan said. "We have to let them know they cannot intimidate us. They try to break you down mentally and physically. We know the tactics they use; we have to be mature about it."
Jordan had some words and flying elbows with Joe Dumars and Mark Aguirre in the Bulls' opening 94-83 victory Sunday in which Chicago's bench played a major role in a pivotal fourth quarter.
"I think they will be very physical," Jordan said. "But I'm not going to do anything stupid or get thrown out of the game. I'll let them know verbally that they cannot intimidate us."
Jordan, who on Monday was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player, said the pressure is still on the Bulls.
"This is a must game for us," said Jordan. "We worked hard for the homecourt advantage and we don't want to lose it. If we win, we will put the pressure on them. If we go 2-0 on them, it will be the first time. But even that wouldn't be safe. You never feel comfortable until they are out of it."
Jordan scored 22 points Sunday, but the Bulls' bench keyed the victory when B.J. Armstrong, Cliff Levingston, Craig Hodges and Will Perdue upped a 68-65 lead to 81-72 in turning back Detroit's final threat.
Detroit coach Chuck Daly said the Pistons were in position "to steal" Sunday's game, especially when they overcame an early 12-point deficit and twice took one-point leads in the third quarter.
"If we had beaten them Sunday, it would have set the stage for a victory in the second game," said Daly. "But the Bulls won and I don't see us stealing one Tuesday."
However, it will be a different situation. Both teams have had the same amount of rest.
Going into Sunday's game, the Bulls had had four days off since eliminating Philadelphia. The Pistons had to go into overtime to defeat Boston Friday night, and less than 48 hours later they were up against the Bulls.
"We have to regroup and play better in every way," Daly said.
"It's a seven-game series," said Aguirre, who came off the Detroit bench to lead both teams in scoring with 25 points. "Believe me, it will go seven. If we get a little more rest and play aggressively, we can do some damage."
Isiah Thomas, the only Detroit starter to score in double figures with 11 points, all in the second half, said: "We have to play better in Game 2."