Eastern Conference semifinal


No. 1 Chicago (62-20) vs. No. 4 Charlotte (51-31)

Season series: Chicago won, 3-1.

Key players: Chicago -- Michael Jordan (36.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg in playoffs); Scottie Pippen (18.0 ppg, 7.0 ppg, 6.0 apg); Dennis Rodman (13.7 rpg). Charlotte -- Glen Rice (23.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Anthony Mason (19.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg); Vlade Divac (12.0 ppg, 8.0 ppg).

Key matchup: Dennis Rodman vs. Anthony Mason. Mason carried the Hornets against the Hawks, scoring 29 points in the clincher. Rodman is one of the best position defenders in the league. Expect an extremely physical series from these two.

What Chicago has to do to win: Simply play up to its potential against a team that it handled pretty easily in the regular season. Luc Longley, who missed the first round with a bone bruise in his left knee, returns and will be needed against a Charlotte front line that features Matt Geiger and Vlade Divac. Geiger is expected to play after missing the Hawks series with a pulled hamstring.

What Charlotte has to do to win: A solid series from point guard David Wesley (12.0 ppg, 8.3 apg against Atlanta) is a must. The Bulls do a great job of disrupting an opposing team's offense, and Wesley has to be able to handle the pressure.

Prediction: Chicago in five.

Pub Date: 5/03/98

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