Michael Jordan never missed the playoffs during his legendary run with the Chicago Bulls. He also made sure he dominated the scoring category once the postseason started.
In 179 playoff games, Jordan averaged 33.4 points. He’s not only first in NBA history in postseason points per game, but he also was so elite that he led both teams in scoring in 36 out of the 37 playoff series he played.
Michael Jordan was high scorer in 36 of his 37 playoff series
According to Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein, Jordan led both teams in scoring in every playoff series for the remainder of his career after the 1985 playoffs. In April 1985, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. Terry Cummings outscored MJ by a single point, 118-117. From that point on, Jordan never let anyone outscore him. “No one dominated like this,” Silverstein said.”
A 10-time scoring champion, Jordan averaged 43.7 points in the 1986 playoffs, 35.7 in 1987, 36.3 in 1988, 34.8 in 1989, 36.7 in 1990, 31.1 in 1991, 34.5 in 1992, 35.1 in 1993, 31.5 in 1995, 30.7 in 1996, 31.1 in 1997, and 32.4 in 1998.
It wasn’t until 1988 when the five-time MVP made it out of the first round. Once the Bulls acquired Scottie Pippen in a draft-night trade with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987, they became nearly unbeatable.
Michael Jordan averaged 32.5 points in the playoffs during the dynasty years
From 1991 to 1998, Jordan played in 126 playoff games. He averaged 32.5 points while shooting 47.9% from the field and won six championships. The UNC product didn’t play in the 1994 playoffs since he was a baseball player.
The only postseason series Jordan lost from 1991 to 1998 was the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Orlando Magic. Despite averaging 31.0 points in the six-game series, His Airness couldn’t lead the Bulls past the Magic, who were led by Shaquille O’Neal, Horace Grant, and Anfernee Hardaway.
Jordan got his revenge against the Magic in the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls swept Orlando, with Superman averaging 29.5 points, and wound up winning the 1996 Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics.
As aforementioned, Jordan is first in NBA postseason history in points per game. He’s also first in player efficiency rating (28.6). Performing in the playoffs is one thing, but dominating in the Finals takes a different type of skill set, one which Jordan had.
MJ is second in Finals history in points per game
Jordan played in 35 Finals games. He averaged 33.6 points, good for second in Finals history behind the logo, Jerry West (36.3).
A 14-time All-Star, Jordan scored 1,176 points in the Finals. He’s fourth in Finals history in total points, trailing West, LeBron James, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Bulls fans were certainly spoiled in the ’90s. They got to watch Jordan put on spectacular show after spectacular show in the postseason and go undefeated in the Finals. Even during the early years when the team couldn’t get out of the first round, Jordan would still make people’s jaws drop. He scored a playoff record of 63 points against the Boston Celtics on April 20, 1986. It was such a legendary performance that Larry Bird called Black Jesus “God described as Michael Jordan.”
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