Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Finals and came out a champion in all of them. As a leader on the Bulls, Jordan was demanding and expected his team-mates to bring the same intensity that he brought on the court, every single night.
In all of his six title-winning seasons, Michael Jordan has averaged more than 30 points per game in the playoffs. Jordan has had some of the most historical nights in playoff history, dominating on both ends of the floor.
Michael Jordan’s top performances in the playoffs from the 1996-97 title-winning campaign
#3 vs Utah Jazz – the “Flu Game” – 38 points
On June 11th, 1997, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were set to take on the Utah Jazz on their home-court. It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and a crucial game for both sides with the series split 2-2. Michael Jordan played 44 minutes, recording 38 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Post-game he revealed that he was playing in a state of dehydration caused by flu-like symptoms. “Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” said Jordan. The Game 5 of the NBA Finals is now engraved in history as the “Flu Game.”
However, in Michael Jordan’s documentary – The Last Dance, it was brought to light that the sickness he faced in the game was caused by the pizza he ordered the previous night. That meant it was food poisoning and not the flu. Either way, flu or not, Michael Jordan willed himself through an ailment to take his team to Game 6 with an advantage.
#2 vs Utah Jazz – 39 points
Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals was at Chicago Bulls’ home court. Michael Jordan, recovered and ready by June 13th tallied a double-double with 39 points and 11 rebounds against the Utah Jazz. Karl Malone, Byron Russell and Jeff Hornacek of the Utah Jazz shot well, a combined 56 points.
The Chicago Bulls outdid the Jazz in the rebound section 50-36 and benefited from that advantage. By a small 4-point margin, the Utah Jazz’s campaign came to an end, losing the series 4-2. Michael Jordan, logged a series stat line of 32.2 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game.
He was then presented with the 1997 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honor, along with the NBA Championship, for the fifth time in his illustrious career.
#1 vs Washington Bullets – 55 points
Up until 2003, the first round of the NBA Playoffs was only a five-game series. The Chicago Bulls matched-up against the Washington Bullets (now Washington Wizards) in the first round and took the series 3-0.
Michael Jordan was in one of his unstoppable zones in Game 2 of the series, he shot 62.9% from the field and perfected on 10 attempts from the free-throw line.
The Chicago Bulls came out trailing at half-time with a focus on limiting the Bullets’ scoring. After allowing them to score only 15 points in the third, Michael Jordan was clinical, scoring 20 points in the fourth.
Jordan finished the game with a season-high 55 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists, leading the Chicago Bulls to victory in a closely fought contest. The final score was 109-105 to the Bulls.