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Michael Jordan missed a lot of shots in the third game of the Chicago Bulls‘ “Last Dance” season on November 3, 1997. In fact, he missed more shots on this day than he did in any game during his entire NBA career.

But as he did so many times, he made the ones that mattered most as the Bulls won a wild double-overtime thriller over the San Antonio Spurs, 87-83.

Jordan attempted 39 shots that night at the United Center, the most he’d take all season, and missed 27 of them. And some of the misses were genuinely awful. But when crunch time arrived, MJ delivered, hitting the final shot in regulation and each of the two extra periods.

With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter and the Bulls trailing by three, Jordan drained his first three-pointer of the season as time expired to give the fans some free basketball. With 22 seconds remaining in the first overtime, he hit a game-tying jumper.

Michael Jordan during a Bulls-Spurs matchup on November 3, 1997
Michael Jordan during a Chicago Bulls-San Antonio Spurs matchup on November 3, 1997 | Jonathan Daniel /Allsport

And with Chicago clinging to a one-point lead in the second overtime, he hit a 15-footer from the left corner with 32 seconds remaining. The two teams traded free throws, and that was that.

Jordan finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, five steals, and a pair of blocks. Luc Longley was the only other starter for the Bulls in double figures with 17 points, also adding nine boards and six blocks. Coming off the bench for the third straight game to open the year, Dennis Rodman nabbed 22 rebounds against his former team.

David Robinson was the leading scorer for San Antonio with 21 points, but it was rookie Tim Duncan who truly impressed that night in the Windy City. Playing just his third NBA game, the No. 1 pick scored 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting and grabbed 22 rebounds of his own. Duncan would obviously go on to have a few more games like that during his career.

Michael Jordan2913452
Luc Longley179206
Ron Harper55411
Randy Brown02220
Jason Caffey12100
Dennis Rodman322110
Steve Kerr101310
Toni Kukoc113000
Jud Buechler62320
Joe Kleine51100
David Robinson2112604
Tim Duncan1922001
Avery Johnson124511
Sean Elliott42100
Vinny Del Negro84310
Jaren Jackson60120
Monty Williams46310
Will Perdue75010
Cory Alexander01400
Carl Herrera20000
Reggie Geary00000

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Here’s a look at the NBA standings following all the action on November 3, 1997.

Eastern ConferenceWL
Atlanta Hawks20
Detroit Pistons20
New Jersey Nets20
Chicago Bulls21
Miami Heat21
Boston Celtics11
Indiana Pacers11
Milwaukee Bucks11
New York Knicks11
Orlando Magic11
Charlotte Hornets12
Washington Wizards12
Cleveland Cavaliers 02
Philadelphia 76ers02
Toronto Raptors02
Western ConferenceWL
Dallas Mavericks20
Houston Rockets20
Minnesota Timberwolves20
LA Lakers10
Phoenix Suns10
San Antonio Spurs21
Portland Trail Blazers11
Seattle Supersonics11
Vancouver Grizzlies11
Utah Jazz12
Denver Nuggets02
Golden State Warriors02
LA Clippers02
Sacramento Kings02

I’m a bit surprised this game wasn’t mentioned in The Last Dance documentary when the Bulls’ rough start was discussed.

Perhaps Jordan instructed director Jason Hehir not to include it due to his poor shooting performance. But to me, it’s a prime example of just how much of the load MJ was forced to carry with Scottie Pippen on the shelf with a foot injury. But perhaps that didn’t fit the narrative because Chicago won the game.

Up next for Jordan and the Bulls was a matchup with Penny Hardaway, Horace Grant, and the Orlando Magic.

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