The year was 1988. The scene was the “Madhouse on Madison” – Chicago Stadium. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were ready to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in game two of their first round series. MJ secured the first game win with a 50-point performance. So what does he do for game 2?
Oh nothing. Just a double-nickel 55 point encore.
In front of 18,645 adoring fans in the Stadium and millions upon millions watching on CBS – of which I was one – saw that and the Bulls take game two 106-101.
He hit shots all kinds of ways. Dunks, layups, jumpers, whatever was asked, he did. The Cavaliers just could stop him. Couldn’t even contain him.
Tack on six rebounds, four steals (Led the NBA in steals that year) and 24 out of 45 field goals and you have the ONLY player in NBA Playoff history with back-to-back 50 point games.
Let me state that again, back-to-back 50-point games for His Airness.
The Bulls would go on to win the series 3-2 when in game five they again scored 106 points and won by three. Oh by the way, that fifth game was the coming out party of another Hall-of-Famer – Scottie Pippen. Remember him?
But this day and series belonged to MJ – 55, 50, 38, 44 and 39 in the five-game war. After the 63-point masterpiece in Boston two years earlier which officially signaled his coming out party, Air Jordan cemented his place in basketball lore with these virtuoso performances.
Wasn’t there another time (or two) against Cleveland where His Airness shined? Stay tuned to find out.