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5 Instances of a Michael Jordan led team being completely dominated in an NBA Playoffs game

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
ANALYST

Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player to ever step on a basketball court. He led the Chicago Bulls to the NBA playoffs every year for 13 years, starting in 1985.

The NBA owes some of its popularity to Michael Jordan, as he was responsible for making the league popular globally. He remains one of the most decorated NBA players to date.

Five times Michael Jordan got dominated in the NBA playoffs

Although MJ won six NBA championships in his 15-year career, things did not go smoothly for him in some playoff games. He was knocked down several times in the NBA playoffs, especially in his early years. But he never lost his competitive edge.

The majority of his losses came at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. However, he eventually found a way to turn things around and won a three-peat in the early 1990s.

#1 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the 1988 NBA playoffs after averaging 35 points per game in the regular season. They overcame the Cleveland Cavaliers (3-2) in the first round to face off against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern conference semifinals.

The Bulls went behind after Game 1 but tied the series in Game 2 following Michael Jordan's stellar shooting. He registered 36 points with a .636 field goal percentage to lead the team to a 105-95 win.

It was a Detroit Pistons show from then on as they frustrated the Chicago Bulls with exquisite defending. Michael Jordan had a hard time shooting the ball as he recorded his lowest field goal percentage in the games that followed.

The Detroit Pistons closed the series in Game 5 with an impressive performance from Isiah Thomas. It marked the start of several NBA playoffs losses Michael Jordan conceded to the Detroit Pistons.

#2 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals

Penny Hardaway of the Orlando Magic looks to pass the ball during a game against the Chicago Bulls
Penny Hardaway of the Orlando Magic looks to pass the ball during a game against the Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan returned to the NBA after a year off playing Minor league baseball, and led the Chicago Bulls to another postseason feature. It was an easy first round for the Chicago Bulls, who won the series 3-1 to send the Charlotte Hornets home in four games.

The Chicago Bulls had a tough job as they needed to overcome the star-studded Orlando Magic to advance to the conference finals. The Orlando Magic signed Horace Grant in the offseason to partner with Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway.

The Chicago Bulls held their own and tied the series on two different occasions after going behind. Michael Jordan put up big numbers in the series to give the Bulls a fighting chance against the dominant Magic team. However, his 31-point average was not enough to help his team advance to the next round.

It was the end of the road for the Chicago Bulls, who were gunning for their fourth championship in five years.

#3 1989 Eastern Conference Finals

Isiah Thomas #11, Point Guard for the Detroit Pistons
Isiah Thomas #11, Point Guard for the Detroit Pistons

The 1989 Eastern Conference Finals was an opportunity for Michael Jordan to exact his revenge on the Detroit Pistons. They were the team who sent him home the previous year in the semifinals. Jordan was on a mission as he desperately needed to win his first championship after spending five years in the league.

The Chicago Bulls took two early leads in the series but failed to keep up the intensity. The Detroit Pistons went on a three-game winning streak after Game 3 to clinch a spot in the Finals.

Michael Jordan lost another opportunity to compete in the NBA Finals, while the Detroit Pistons went on to sweep the LA Lakers for their first NBA championship in franchise history.

#4 1987 Eastern Conference first round

Larry Bird #33, Power Forward for the Boston Celtics
Larry Bird #33, Power Forward for the Boston Celtics

Michael Jordan finished the 1986-87 regular season with an average of 37.1 points per game, his highest in his 15-year career. The Chicago Bulls had high hopes heading into the playoffs because of how effective Jordan was on the court.

Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics were not shaken by the youngster's performance as they put up a show of their own. The Chicago Bulls were swept in the first round despite Michael Jordan's 35.7-point average.

#5 1990 Eastern Conference Finals

It could be said that these three consecutive losses against the Detroit Pistons are what motivated Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls to win the three-peat from 1991. The Bulls had another opportunity to contend for the championship but fell short to the Pistons in another conference final.

The Chicago Bulls only lost twice against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers on their way to the conference finals. However, the Bulls went 2-4 against the Detroit Pistons in what was their final playoff loss before a championship.

Michael Jordan got his revenge as led the Bulls in sweeping the Detroit Pistons in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals.


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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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