After playing baseball during the 1993-94 NBA season, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls near the end of the 1994-95 campaign. His return energized the Bulls, the city of Chicago, and the entire NBA.
Jordan’s fifth game back was against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, his favorite place to play. Basketball fans will certainly always remember what transpired on March 28, 1995. After all, Jordan put on such a memorable performance that the game has its own name.
Michael Jordan scored 55 points against Patrick Ewing and Knicks
Jordan scored 55 points in 39 minutes against the Knicks while shooting 21-of-37 from the field. His outing was dubbed the “Double-Nickel” game. It was a spectacular show by Jordan, who also had the game-winning assist to Bill Wennington.
“This game is very important for me from a confidence standpoint,” Jordan said. “In four games, I’ve been struggling. There’s not been much to give me confidence. I’ve got to go to the basket. I’m trying to get my skills back. I felt very good tonight. I shot the ball very well. I felt myself in great rhythm.”
Though they were upset the Bulls won, Knicks fans were treated to a legendary display at Madison Square Garden that night. However, while the spotlight was rightfully on Jordan, Ewing had a terrific game as well. Unfortunately, no one remembers that since MJ was the talk of the NBA.
Patrick Ewing talks Michael Jordan’s Double-Nickel game
In Episode 8 of The Last Dance docuseries, Ewing admitted that it was unfortunate Jordan had a stellar game against the Knicks because he had a fantastic game, too, but no one ever talks about it.
“After that long layoff, he was able to come back and have one of his best games in the Garden,” Ewing said. “It’s unfortunate because I think I had a great game that game as well, but no one remembers that (laughs).”
Ewing did have a tremendous game during Jordan’s 55-point outburst. He put up 36 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks while shooting 10-of-21 overall. However, it wasn’t enough to beat His Airness.
Jordan played in 17 games to close out the 1994-95 season. The Bulls went 13-4 and entered the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago defeated the Charlotte Hornets in the first round, while New York took care of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Most basketball pundits predicted that the Bulls and Knicks would meet in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals. However, both Jordan and Ewing came up short in the second round.
Bulls lost to Magic, Knicks fell to Pacers
The Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the 1995 playoffs in six games. It was the only postseason series Jordan lost from 1991 to 1998.
Meanwhile, Ewing and the Knicks fell to the Indiana Pacers in seven hard-fought games. The Magic wound up defeating the Pacers in the conference finals, but they got swept by the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.
Jordan returned with a vengeance in 1995-96 after losing to the Magic and guided the Bulls to 72 wins. The Hall of Famer won his fourth regular-season MVP, fourth championship, and fourth Finals MVP in 1996. Jordan, of course, finished his career with five regular-season MVPs, six titles, and six Finals MVPs.
As for Ewing, he never won an NBA championship despite playing in the Finals twice. However, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 after posting career averages of 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.