Dennis Rodman, looking cool and casual in red-checked warmup pants, was back at the Chicago Bulls' practice Saturday. He'll be a poorer man for missing Friday's drills after arriving late.

"We had everybody here and everybody is on the same page so everybody knows that there are no problems," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said after Saturday's workout at the team's suburban Deerfield complex."Dennis will be a little shorter in the pocket, that's about all."

How much of a fine?

"I haven't figured that out, but I'll get back to you when I do figure it out. It will be substantial," Jackson said with a smile.

Rodman has been on his best behavior most of the season, the result of an incentive-heavy contract.

He was sent home Jan. 23 from New Jersey after missing a shoot-around following a late night out. He missed two practices in February - one because he said he misplaced his car keys - and lost his starting role for two games.

Jackson didn't say why Rodman was tardy. When the Bulls ousted Charlotte in the conference semifinals Wednesday night, Rodman pulled down 21 rebounds before heading to his favorite downtown night club to celebrate.

He missed practice Friday but did arrive in time to work out as the Bulls began preparation for Sunday's Game 1 against Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals.

"Dennis didn't have his mind on what is going on," Jackson said Saturday.

"For him two days is a long ways away from a series. He still had plenty of time, as far as Dennis was concerned. He practiced hard today and he's ready, plenty of time to get ready for a 2:30 game tomorrow.

"On Dennis' terms of time, he's in fine shape. My terms? No."

READY FOR REGGIE: Reggie Miller averaged 23 points, shooting 50 percent against the Bulls in four regular-season games. But he had one subpar performance at Market Square Arena, hitting only 4-of-14 for 12 points. The Bulls won 90-84.

"He's had some great games against us and stinko games against us," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said.

Michael Jordan probably will guard Miller to begin Sunday's opener, but Jackson said he's ready to use as many as four different defenders.

Jackson also reiterated that the Bulls are just as concerned with containing Rik Smits and controlling Pacers point guard Mark Jackson.

"Our focus is not on Reggie, it's on the team," Jackson said.

Ron Harper will get the nod against Mark Jackson because he is strong enough to keep him from backing into the lane or posting up and creating opportunities for his teammates.

Mark Jackson's presence could mean reduced playing time for Steve Kerr, who does not defend Jackson well.

"Harper's a bigger guy, longer, better defensive guard," Mark Jackson said Saturday.

"Once they put in a smaller guard, then I can do the things that I can take advantage of as far as posting. With Harper, I've got to be a more traditional guy, getting into the seam and creating shots for myself and my teammates."

ROAD TOUGH: Pacers coach Larry Bird says the Pacers aren't going into the opening two games at the United Center trying to "steal" a victory and take away the homecourt advantage.

With a 26-15 regular-season road record, the Pacers are greedy.

"We're going in there to get two games," Bird said. "We're a good road team, one of the better road teams in the league. I'm so sick of guys saying we're only going there to win one."

Indiana did win a regular-season game in Chicago. So far in the playoffs, the Pacers are 7-2 with both losses coming on the road, at Cleveland and New York.

IN CLOSING: The Pacers haven't lost two straight since Dec. 8-10 at Utah and at Portland . . . The Bulls' second unit beat the first team in a scrimmage Saturday behind the play of Jud Buechler.







Chicago vs. Indiana

Sunday, May 17

Indiana at Chicago, 1:30 p.m. (NBC)

Tuesday, May 19

Indiana at Chicago, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)

Saturday, May 23

Chicago at Indiana, 1:30 p.m. (NBC)

Monday, May 25

Chicago at Indiana, 1:30 p.m. (NBC)

Wednesday, May 27

Indiana at Chicago, 7 p.m. (NBC), if necessary

Friday, May 29

Chicago at Indiana, TBA (NBC), if necessary

Sunday, May 31

Indiana at Chicago, TBA (NBC), if necessary


Utah vs. L.A. Lakers

Saturday, May 16

Utah 112, L.A. Lakers 77, Utah leads series 1-0

Monday, May 18

L.A. Lakers at Utah, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)

Friday, May 22

Utah at L.A. Lakers, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Sunday, May 24

Utah at L.A. Lakers, 1:30 p.m. (NBC)

Tuesday, May 26

L.A. Lakers at Utah, 7 p.m. (NBC), if necessary

Friday, May 29

Utah at L.A. Lakers, TBA (NBC), if necessary

Sunday, May 31

L.A. Lakers at Utah, TBA (NBC), if necessary