In his second year in the league, Jordan scored a playoff-record 63 points, including two foul shots that tied the game with no time left in the first overtime. Despite Chicago's loss in the second game of a first-round series that the Bulls would lose, Jordan's masterpiece in Boston Garden proved to be a coming-out party for His Airness.
2 of 10Bill Smith/SI
June 3, 1992, vs. Trail Blazers
In Game 1 of the Finals, Jordan torched the Blazers for a playoff-record 35 first-half points, including six three-pointers (he made only 27 the entire regular season), as the Bulls rolled 122-89. After one hoop, he looked toward the sideline, turned his palms upward and shrugged, as if to say, What can I tell you? He finished with 39 points on 16-of-27 shooting. "The best game I've seen Michael play," teammate Horace Grant told reporters afterward.
3 of 10Manny Millan/SI
May 7, 1989, at Cleveland
With the Bulls trailing by a point with three seconds left in the final game of a hard-fought first-round series, Jordan took an inbounds pass from Brad Sellers, spun to the top of the key and hit a hanging, double-clutch, 18-foot jumper over Craig Ehlo at the buzzer, stunning the 20,273 in attendance at Richfield Coliseum. "The Shot" capped his 44-point, nine-rebound, six-assist performance as Chicago upset the second-seeded Cavaliers.
4 of 10John Biever/SI
June 14, 1998, at Utah
At the time, it seemed like the perfect coda to his career: In Game 6 of the Finals against Utah, Jordan shook off Bryon Russell and nailed an 18-foot jumper with 5.2 seconds left to give the Bulls an 87-86 victory and their sixth championship in eight years. The shot came after Jordan had stolen the ball from Karl Malone on the previous possession with Utah leading by one point. Jordan, of course, announced his (second) retirement months later, only to return in 2001.
5 of 10Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
June 5, 1991, vs. Lakers
Jordan punctuated a 15-for-18, 33-point, 13-assist performance in Game 2 of the Finals with an acrobatic masterpiece. Driving the lane, he brandished the ball with his right hand as if preparing to dunk. However, while in midair, he suddenly switched hands and scooped a shot in from the left side. The Bulls romped 107-86, the first of four consecutive victories in a run to the franchise's first title.
6 of 10Manny Millan/SI
June 16, 1993: Scores 55 points vs. Suns
Jordan pumped in 55 points (on 21-of-37 shooting from the field) as the Bulls won Game 4 of the Finals. The crusher for Phoenix came when, with 13 seconds remaining and Chicago leading 106-104, Jordan scored on a drive through the lane, drew a foul and hit the free throw. Jordan joined Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Jerry West and Bob Pettit as the only 50-point scorers in a Finals game. The Bulls went on to win the series 4-2 for their third consecutive NBA title.
7 of 10Andy Hayt/NBAE/Getty Images
June 11, 1997, at Utah
A virus-ravaged Jordan, who could barely stand by game's end, scored 15 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter, including a crucial three-pointer with 25 seconds left, as the Bulls prevailed 90-88 in Game 5 of the Finals. The Bulls rallied from a 16-point deficit, snapped Utah's 22-game home winning streak and took a 3-2 lead in the series, which they closed out in Game 6. Chicago was in position to win in six games in part because of Jordan's game-winner in Game 1.
8 of 10John Biever/SI
April 28 and May 1, 1988, vs. Cavs
The year before Jordan devastated Cleveland with The Shot, he delivered back-to-back games of 50 and 55 points to lead the Bulls to a 2-0 series lead against the Cavaliers. Jordan became the first player to score 50 or more points in consecutive postgame games. "Michael Jordan," Scottie Pippen said after Game 2, "is God's gift to the world." Chicago won the series in five games, with Jordan advancing to the second round for the first time in his four-year career.
9 of 10Manny Millan/SI
May 31 and June 2, 1993, vs. Knicks
Amid scrutiny of a gambling trip to Atlanta City earlier in the series, and coming off a 3-of-18 performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, Jordan rebounded to blitz the Knicks for 54 points as Chicago evened things at 2-2. Then, in Game 5, Jordan produced his second career triple-double, with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists, to lift the Bulls to a 97-94 victory. Chicago closed out the series two nights later, completing its comeback from a 2-0 deficit.
10 of 10Nathaniel S. Butler/SI
May 17, 1992, vs. Knicks
Jordan scored 18 first-quarter points, had 29 by halftime and finished with 42 to lead the defending champion Bulls past New York 110-81 in Game 7 of a second-round series. This marked the only time Jordan and Co. were pushed to a Game 7 during their first three-peat.
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