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NELSON'S STRATEGY VS. RODMAN BACKFIRES

From now on, repeatedly fouling a poor free-throw shooter away from the ball might be called "The Bubba Wells Strategy."

Of course, Dallas' Don Nelson might be the only coach ever to try it again after Dennis Rodman made the strategy backfire.

"Nothing gets to Dennis Rodman," Rodman said after going 9 of 12 from the line as part of an 11-point, 27-rebound, eight-assist performance that helped the Chicago Bulls defeat the Mavericks, 111-105, Monday night. "The only way to get to me is to take my money."

Michael Jordan, the pre-eminent money player, had 41 points for his NBA record-tying 787th consecutive double-digit scoring game as the Bulls stretched their winning streak to eight games and handed Dallas its 12th consecutive loss.

No game this season featured a strategy as unique as Nelson's against Chicago.

Wells, a rookie who has played only 45 minutes all season, fouled Rodman six times well away from the ball -- three at the end of the second quarter and three more at the end of the third.

"We get beat every night anyway," Nelson said. "Hey, it didn't work, but I'll do it again. It's probably better than Michael making every shot.

"You don't have to be too smart to see a guy shooting 39 percent (from the line) . . . and the Bulls scoring 1.2 points per possession. Do the math and it's not close."

Bulls coach Phil Jackson said Nelson told the referees of his plan before the game.

Jackson told Rodman, "Be prepared to shoot some foul shots," and said he had confidence in the Worm's free-throw form.

"It's just a matter of settling himself and shooting," Jackson said. "A lot of times he's antsy at the line and makes it a moving shot."

Rodman went 4 for 6 at the end of the second quarter and 5 for 6 at the end of the third. The latter string helped the Bulls turn a one-point game into an 84-77 lead entering the fourth.

"I wasn't surprised. (Nelson) has an awful team," said Rodman, who matched his career highs for free throws attempted and made. "I think Don Nelson is a great coach. I respect him, but that was a crazy game plan. It's ridiculous to embarrass a player like that."

And Wells was embarrassed. He fouled out in just 3 minutes of playing time, breaking the 41-year-old NBA record of 5 minutes set by Dick Farley of the Syracuse Nationals.

"(Rodman) was out of bounds and Don was like, 'Foul him anyway.' I was like, 'Oh, this is for sure on the highlights,'" Wells said. "It's just taking one for the team, I guess, but that's not how I play basketball. It's not a record I'm happy with."

Jordan had a nicer record to add to his list as he matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's string of double-figure performances. Jordan, who last failed to score at least 10 points on March 22, 1986, can break the mark tonight at Minnesota.

He is 34 for 55 from the floor the last two games after shooting 42 percent in the first 27 games. And Rodman, leading the NBA in rebounding for the seventh straight season, is averaging 20 boards over the last 10 games.

Around the rim

David Wesley scored 21 of his season-high 32 points in the first quarter as the Hornets ended their three-game road losing streak with a 120-101 win over the Rockets. . . . Rookie Keith Van Horn had a career night -- 32 points and 10 rebounds -- as the Nets beat the Wizards, 99-91. . . . David Robinson of the Spurs won the NBA's player of the week honors. Robinson, who led the Spurs to a 2-1 record last week, averaged 29.7 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.33 blocked shots.

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