BOSTON — Will Michael Jordan say farewell to the NBA when the playoffs end? No one knows, including Jordan, so the best thing to do is sit back, and let the late-season drama unfold.
The playoffs are roughly half over, and it appears Jordan's Chicago Bulls, who are seeking their sixth title this decade, will meet the Larry Bird-coached Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.
With a 3-games-to-1 series edge, Chicago can eliminate the Charlotte Hornets tonight, and Indiana can follow suit against the New York Knicks. Indiana is playing with Bird-like court sense and enjoys excellent leadership from Chris Mullin (see story, right) and Reggie Miller.
In the West, the conference championships are hurdling toward a Utah-Jazz-vs.-Los Angeles Lakers showdown. Pending the outcome of last night's games against San Antonio and Seattle, respectively, both teams could already be in. Utah, which tied Chicago with a league-best 62-20 regular season record, seeks championship rings for veterans Karl Malone and John Stockton. The Jazz came close last year, losing to the Bulls in the finals. The Lakers, meanwhile, may be ready to ride Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant to LA's first title since 1988.