DEAR DESERET NEWS sports staff;

Can someone there get a message to our wonderful Jazz team? Please encourage them to remember "Rocky" and "Rocky II"! See what you can do to make Rocky II required viewing for their wives. In that film, Adrian inspires her man to go beat the pulp out of Apollo Creed! Everyone is telling him he doesn't have what it takes, but his wife's encouragement overrides everything else and he wins the fight!- Signed, D.K., Laie, Hawaii.

Dear D.K.;

Like many readers, you have mistaken us for cheerleaders, but, believe me, we don't have the legs. We don't even have a city license to cheer. And why would the Jazz want to beat up Apollo Creed? By the way, the NBA Finals is not a fistfight, although I can certainly understand the mistake if you've

watched Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman lately.

Will you settle for a very encouraging column instead, because Malone is busy weighing truck drivers or something and isn't taking calls. I'm allowed one encouraging column after witnessing some of the gushing, fawning homers in the Chicago media last week. So here goes.

Now that Game 5 is history, it is clear that there really are cracks in the Bulls' armor. All their weaknesses were exposed again. They're not a good shooting team. Their offense is one-dimensional. The Bulls are old. They are no longer a dominating team. They are vulnerable. In short, they can be had.Here are eight reasons - suitable for taping on the fridge - why the Bulls can be had now:

1. Michael Jordan is human.This came as a surprise to me, too, but he has made just 55 of 129 shots during the NBA Finals (or 43 percent). He missed six of seven shots in the fourth quarter of Game 5, including an open look from the foul line and a driving layup. He took the last shot of the game and he tossed an airball. (So that's why they call him Air.)

My theory: He's spending too much time with Ahmad or the piano or both. When Jordan was asked about returning to Utah after Game 5, he said, "I'm looking forward to getting the same room with the piano."

See?

2. Rodman's back. Earlier this week, Dennis Rodman said, "I don't want to go back to Utah. My life just goes to complete hell when I go to Utah."

That's not the worst news the Jazz have ever heard. Maybe Malone can get Ty the Cop to make sure Rodman doesn't cross the state line until the Finals are finished. No running off to WCW to throw chairs. No more fear and loathing in Vegas. He's stuck with us. Let's do the town: Temple Square, the Mo-Tabs, some ice cream at Snelgrove's. Let's use nativespeak such as, "Oh my heck, Denny, I forgot to get a fetchin' babysitter for my 3.3 children!"

This could push him over the edge. Oh my heck, he's already over the edge.

3. Rodman's mouth. Every time he opens his pie hole something stupid comes out, not unlike most of our congressmen. He called Malone an average player. He said he could handle Malone any day of the week. Smart move. Malone scored 39 points in Game 5. Never tick off Mr. Mail. This one topped them all: "This game's too easy," said Rodman. "It's too easy for me to play, so I have to put more pressure on myself to go out there and perform."

If it's so easy, why does he shoot the basketball like he's got a land mine in his hands?

Picking on Rodman isn't even fair; it's too easy. But the guy spends so much time setting up locker-room quotes for the other team that you can't ignore him.

"I'm trying to conquer the world, brother," he said. How about Karl Malone first?

4. Luc Longley's in the house. Picture Greg Ostertag - with a jump shot. Jordan said he will educate other players in the nuances of the game. He said his pet project will be Luc Longley, who had a bad night in Game 5. Here's what Jordan's sage advice is: "I will not give up on Luc," he said. "He just had a bad night. Now he's got to go out and get drunk and forget about it."

Good plan. First thing we do around here is change the liquor laws.

5. Jordan seems a little dreamy and distracted. During Friday's postgame press conference he discussed his last desperate shot of the game, the airball.

"For 1.1 seconds no one knew what was going to happen," he said. "I thought that was cute just thinking about it. It was the moment at that time. And I love those moments. Great players thrive on that . . . because they have an opportunity to decide happiness and sadness. And happiness was on our side at the time and sadness was on Utah's side. Unfortunately, we reversed roles. Sadness in Chicago and happiness in Utah. That's what you live for."

Ooooo-kay.

Think he's been hanging with Phil lately?

6. The Bulls are struggling with some key elements of their game. Such as getting to the arena on time. They got caught in a traffic jam en route to Game 5. It took them two hours to get to the United Center, and they arrived a few minutes late. They seemed to blame this and the referees for some of their problems. This can't be a good sign.

7. The Chicago bench. The Bulls don't have one. One player (Rodman) does not a bench make. Don't even talk to me about Steve Kerr (7 of 20).

8. The Bulls are too busy worrying about contracts and breaking up the team. When do they have time to win a title?