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Old 08-26-2012, 01:34 AM   #1
KG215
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Default 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First




First off, you can find every game on Youtube. Just do a search for "1991 NBA Finals Game ___" and you can find the entire game. If you have a PS3 or 360, I'd suggest downloading the Youtube app and watching that way on your TV. The best quality ones are by NBARetroHD but I couldn't find every game through him.

A few quick notes. Those that thought Jordan's Bulls teams were always overwhelming favorites in every Finals series isn't true. Both Marv Albert and Mike Fratello say things after the Bulls won game five and the series in LA, that stood out. Marv Albert said something to the effect of the Bulls domination of the series has to be considered a surprise. Not the Bulls winning was a surprise, but them doing so in 5 games, two of which were comfortable wins, was a surprise. Mike Fratello followed up by saying he wasn't sure if everyone gave the Bulls the credit they deserved throughout the season and felt the balance of power was in the Western Conference that year; and that the Blazers were considered the best team in the league that year so that, when the Lakers got by them, they would beat the Bulls. Sounds kind of similar to the thinking of many after OKC beat the Spurs in the WCF this year.

Anyway....

Game 1
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.


Game 2
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.


Game 3
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.


Game 4
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.


Game 5
This was just a really fun and exciting game from start to finish. Pippen was a beast 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.


Basically, to sum up, the Bulls were not overwhelming favorites to win it all that year which is is something I think some fans have come to believe over the years. Not that they weren't supposed to win or anything, but there was still some question at the time as to whether or not they could win a championship. And, as I pointed out, they were on the brink of going down 2-1 in the series still with two games on the road to go.

And I knew they were a very good defensive team who was excellent at forcing turnovers and scoring in transition, but their excellent halfcourt execution was a surprise. I guess I just hadn't heard much about it in that particular series, but it was top notch execution for most of the series. Jordan was at his playmaking best, averaging 11.4 apg, and it wasn't just the assists either; his vision was incredible basically the entire series.

Last edited by KG215 : 08-26-2012 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Those 3pt FG totals.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Yeah, the Bulls shot 21 as a team the entire series. For comparison's sake, five players in the 2012 finals attempted more than 21 threes. The Lakers shot 46 as a team compared to 105 for the Thunder and 98 for the Heat this year.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

I wish the game was still played similar to those days. I get sick of watching players, especially bigs, just camping out at the 3 point line

MJ in the finals
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Quote:
Originally Posted by coin24
I wish the game was still played similar to those days. I get sick of watching players, especially bigs, just camping out at the 3 point line

MJ in the finals

Well, Perkins liked to venture out to the 3P line from time to time but he was capable of hitting the 3P shot.

The Bulls in general were very deliberate in the halfcourt, Jordan especially. Fratello or Marv one pointed out in game 5, after Jordan rushed and took a bad forced shot, that he hadn't done that very often in the series. Off recollection, I can probably count the number of bad and forced shots Jordan took in the entire series on one hand. There were times he got in the air and it looked like he had nowhere to go, and would have to force up a crazy shot but, most of the time, he somehow would be able to make a dump-off pass to a teammate. His poise and decision making were very impressive.

Which reminds me of something else from the series that sort of stood out. Perkins was the focal point of the Lakers offense for chunks of games. I mean, yeah, Magic was technically the focal point for the Bulls defense as the best player and facilitator, but they ran a lot of stuff to get Perkins shots.

And for someone like me, whose Vlade Divac memories are dominated by him in a Kings uniform, it was interesting to see a young Vlade with the Lakers. This was a second year Vlade who outdid his regular season numbers by a good bit in the Finals. He averaged 11-8-1-1-1 in the regular season, but in the Finals he raised that to 18-9-2-2-2. I was just very impressed (for the most part) on both ends of the floor.

I really liked Chicago's defensive strategy on Magic in the series. Whether it was Pippen or Jordan, they picked him up full-court (most of the time) and pressured him and played very physical defense on him, making it hard work just to get the ball up the court. It didn't allow the Lakers to get into their halfcourt sets as easily, and it also didn't allow Magic to sit back and see the defense set and see where his teammates were, as he brought the ball up the court. He did post up a lot in the series, too. Don't remember him making his move and finishing a whole lot, but he did draw quite a few fouls when he posted up.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

So, Jordan scored 156 points while taking four 3-pointers( making two) and only 28 free throws, a 5 game average of 5.6 per game.

Efficiency.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Mychal Thomspon

What a garbage player
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

damn 31pts, 6rbs, 11 assists?

GOAT
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Quote:
Originally Posted by imnew09
damn 31pts, 6rbs, 11 assists?

GOAT

1991 Jordan was probably the best playmaking/passing version of Jordan. He averaged 8.4 assists per game in the playoffs and found a masterful balance between when to shoot and when to pass and get his teammates involved.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Magic Johnson: "I didnt pass the torch to Michael, He just took it from me in 1991"
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

To be fair to Magic, that 1991 Lakers team was a far cry from the Showtime Lakers. Yes, he still had Worthy but he was breaking down, and they had virtually no quality depth. Not that they didn't have any kind of shot of beating the Bulls (like I said, Chicago was staring a 1-2 series deficit in the face until the final few seconds of regulation) but they were't even expected to get to the Finals that year. I think, going into the postseason, the Blazers were the consensus favorites.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

MJ's most productive Finals series.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Goat
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

Rape. Reported.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1991 NBA Finals: Jordan's First

This may be a very dumb question, but what's the correct way to embed a table from Basketball-Reference here? I've tried about everything I can. I've seen others do it where it looks like a screen-cap but isn't....I think.
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