In the 1993-94 season, Pete Myers replaced Michael Jordan. In 199
CHICAGO (AP) _ In the 1993-94 season, Pete Myers replaced Michael Jordan. In 1994-95, Myers might be the one replaced.
Faced with the prospect of losing his starting spot _ and maybe his spot on the Bulls’ roster _ to Jordan, Myers had his best game of the season Wednesday night as Chicago defeated the Atlanta Hawks 99-86.
Myers, who had a season-high 14 points and added five assists, might be the only person in Chicago who doesn’t want Jordan to un-retire. He gets downright surly when reporters mention Michael _ which they have done a lot since reports of his imminent return surfaced last week.
``If you’re talking about Michael,″ Myers said after Wednesday’s game, ``you can cut that out.″
Myers was much more willing to talk about his role with the Bulls, who are 8-4 since he moved into the starting lineup.
``It’s been a tough year for us. Sometimes, things haven’t gone the way we expected,″ Myers said. ``But maybe we’re starting to peak, and this is where all teams in the league want to peak, on the way to the playoffs. I’m happy, and one reason is because I’m a part of it.″
He hasn’t always been part of it.
The Bulls, like everyone else, were stunned by Jordan’s retirement just before last season and were left without a shooting guard. So they looked to the CBA for Myers, who started 81 of 82 games as Chicago went 55-27.
Despite the Bulls’ success, they didn’t retain Myers. But when they got off to a slow start this season, they re-signed him Nov. 18. He’s been in the starting lineup since Feb. 21, when the Bulls snapped a 3-6 skid with a victory at Atlanta.
``Me and Chicago went through a lot over the summer. They felt I wasn’t needed,″ Myers said. ``But I kind of take my hat off to (Bulls general manager Jerry Krause) because he was man enough to come back and give me a chance. I’m glad to be here and I’m glad to be back in the starting lineup.″
Myers wasn’t the only Bull who ruined the night for the Hawks.
Scottie Pippen scored 20 points and Toni Kukoc had a career-high 13 rebounds to go with 18 points as the Bulls led throughout for their eighth win in their last nine home games.
Ken Norman scored 21 points, including six 3-pointers for the Hawks, who fell back under .500 after getting over the break-even mark just two games ago.
Playing its second straight game without injured forward Stacey Augmon, Atlanta (31-32) fell 1 1/2 games behind Chicago (33-31) in the race for the sixth Eastern Conference playoff spot.
``We weren’t playing with joy or enthusiasm or fire,″ said Hawks center Andrew Lang, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. ``From a talent standpoint, man-for-man, we were the better team. But they out-executed us.″
Said Atlanta coach Lenny Wilkens: ``I was really unhappy with the way we played. I don’t think we were aggressive or played with any enthusiasm. I don’t know why, because we’ve been playing pretty good. We just seemed to get our heads down early and never could get going the way we should.″