NBA Legend and Hall of Famer
Join Date: Feb 2009
Re: Michael Jordan WON a championship by himself. Many are just Ignorant about it on ISH
1991, in my opinion, was Pippen's true breakout season. To suggest he wasn't any kind of "help" for Jordan is absurd. Pippen averaged 21-9-7-2-1 in the Finals. Not to mention he had 32-13-7-5-1 in the deciding 5th game.
And I'll just quote myself from a thread I started back in the summer after re-watching the '91 Finals.
Jordan has a very good NBA Finals debut going for 36-8-12-3 on 14/24 shooting; however, some of the younger Bulls admitted after the game to being very nervous, and it showed, most notably Horace Grant who had just 6 points on 3/8 shooting. Pippen went for 19-7-5 but on 7/19 shooting and was the only other Bull to score in double figures.
Sam Perkins hit a game winning three with about 15 seconds to go and Jordan had a 15-17 foot jumper go halfway down before rattling out, that would've given the Bulls a 93-92 lead with under 10 seconds to play. Four Lakers (Worthy, Perkins, Magic, and Vlade) scored 16+ points. Can't imagine all the overreaction threads on here if ISH existed back then after Jordan and the Bulls lost game one at home.
The Jordan "Switches Hands in Mid-Air Iconic Floating Lay-Up" game. Bulls win in a blowout and Jordan goes for 33-7-13-2 on 15/18 shooting. Pippen and Grant both play much better, scoring 20 points apiece on 8/16 and 10/13 shooting respectively.
This game was the most interesting to me for a couple of reasons. It felt like, about mid-way through the third quarter, that the Bulls were going to be blownout. The Lakers went on something like an 18-2 and 20-4 run to take a 14 point lead. They had all the momentum and the home crowd was into the game. Jordan was in the midst of an awful second half that would last up until the very final seconds of regulation. He wasn't just missing jumpers either, he was missing semi-easy layups and bunnies, too.
And, of all people, it was Cliff Levingston who I felt helped Pippen lead the Bulls comeback starting late in the 3rd quarter. He gave the Bulls some very good high energy minutes off the bench with a couple of blocks, and 6 or 8 points, including two offensive rebound putbacks; the type of energy/hustle plays that can wake a team up and get them going, which is exactly what I felt like his play during that stretch did. Again, could you imagine if ISH was around? There would've been 10 threads killing Jordan for missing shot after shot while his team was on the verge of getting blown out, and then there would've been another 5-10 threads killing him because it was Cliff Levingston and Craig Hodges who were "carrying" Jordan during the Bulls comeback.
Anyway, with the Bulls down two with 10 seconds to go, Jordan gets the inbounds pass, dribbles the lenght of the courth with Byron Scott pressuring him, and hits a 12 foot pull-up jumper over a closing Vlade Divac to send the game into OT. He was that close to losing the game on a 9/25 shooting performance (I think he went 2/3 in OT and finished 11/28) and being down 2-1 in his first NBA Finals with two more games to be played in LA. What happens if he misses that shot? Do the Lakers take that momentum to go on and win the series? And do the Bulls ever become "The Bulls"?
Jordan hits two big shots in OT, and they outscore the Lakers 12-4 in OT for the 104-96 win. Horace Grant had his best game of the series going for 22-11-3 on 9/11 shooting.
Admittedly, I didn't watch much of this game. I could only find it on Youtube in "parts" and the way it's set-up through the PS3 app, it was damn near impossible to find the next part of the previous one finished. After about part 4 or 5 of 13 I gave-up. I knew the Bulls were up by 16 after the 3rd quarter and won by 15.
This was just a really fun and exciting game from start to finish. Pippen was a beast (32 pts, 13 reb, 7 ast, 5 stl) and Jordan was Jordan. Their swarming defense wreaked havoc at crucial times, and led to one particular Jordan block, lead pass to Pippen, Pippen slam sequence that looked nearly identical to what some of the younger NBA fans have grown accustomed to seeing from Wade and LeBron.
It should also be noted that James Worthy and Byron Scott missed this game with an injury. Two rookies, Tony Smith and Elden Campbell, stepped up and played surprisingly well. Smith had 12 points on 5/6 shooting and Campbell had 21 points on 9/12 shooting.
But it wasn't Jordan or Pippen, or even Grant who hit the big shots down the stretch in the fourth quarter of a tight game. It was John Paxson who did what he had done most of the series by hitting long 2-point jumper after long 2-point jumper. I don't know why he didn't take the extra 1.5 step back and get set behind the 3P line, but he was money that series from 18-20 feet out. He scored either 8 or 10 of his 20 points in a 3-4 minute span in the fourth quarter to slowly extend the Bulls lead and give them a little bit of breathing room. Jordan did set him up nicely a few times off of penetration and kick-out where Paxson was wide-open. I've read/heard about how automatic Paxson was that series, but I didn't realize he hit several clutch jumpers in a row in the deciding game.
Obviously Jordan was phenomenal, but Pippen wasn't as bad as you're trying to make him sound, and John Paxson was on fire.