1992 NBA Finals

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1992 NBA Finals
1992NBAFinals.png
Team Coach Wins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Portland Trail Blazers Rick Adelman 2
Dates June 3–14
MVP Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Television NBC (U.S.)
Announcers Marv Albert, Mike Fratello, and Magic Johnson (Games 1,4, and 5)
Referees
Game 1: Jake O'Donnell, Hue Hollins, Dick Bavetta
Game 2: Hugh Evans, Jess Kersey, Paul Mihalik
Game 3: Ed T. Rush, Mike Mathis, Bill Oakes
Game 4: Darell Garretson, Joey Crawford, Dick Bavetta
Game 5: Jake O'Donnell, Jess Kersey, Hue Hollins
Game 6: Hugh Evans, Ed T. Rush, Mike Mathis
Hall of Famers Trail Blazers:
Clyde Drexler (2004)
Bulls:
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Officials:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Darell Garretson (2016)
Eastern Finals Bulls defeat Cavaliers, 4–2
Western Finals Trail Blazers defeat Jazz, 4–2
NBA Finals

The 1992 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1991–92 NBA season. The Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls took on the Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage, as they had the best record in the NBA that season.

The two teams appeared headed to face each other for most of the season and comparisons were made between Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan throughout the season.[1] A month earlier Sports Illustrated had even listed Drexler as Jordan's "No. 1 rival" on a cover the two appeared on together before the playoffs.[2] The media, hoping to recreate a Magic Johnson-Larry Bird type rivalry in Jordan-Drexler, compared the two throughout the pre-Finals hype.

The Bulls would go on to win the series in six games. Michael Jordan was named Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, to go with his sixth straight regular season scoring titles.

NBC Sports used commentator Ahmad Rashād (both teams' sidelines).

Background[edit]

Chicago Bulls[edit]

The Bulls won their first NBA championship the previous season, ushering in a new era in the league. Proving that their maiden championship was no fluke, the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season, finishing with a 67–15 record, surpassing last season's record by six games. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with a 30.1/6.4/6.1 season.

After easily sweeping the Miami Heat in the opening round, they encountered the New York Knicks, who were now coached by Pat Riley. The Knicks' hard-nosed style of play soon took its toll on the Bulls, but led by Jordan, they were able to escape in seven games. Up next were the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals, whom the Bulls have beaten in two prior postseason meetings. Despite facing a much-improved Cavaliers team, the Bulls were still too much to handle, and they won in six games.[3]

With their co-tenants at Chicago Stadium, the Blackhawks, coached by Mike Keenan and captained by Dirk Graham, playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, it was an opportunity for both the Bulls and the Blackhawks to help the city of Chicago become the first city to have both NBA and NHL championships in the same year.[4]

Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

The Trail Blazers were destined to meet the Bulls the previous year, having won a franchise record 63 games. But the Los Angeles Lakers had other ideas, defeating Portland in six games of the conference finals.

Retaining the same core that led the Blazers to the finals in 1990, the team won the Pacific Division title with a 57–25 record. They took advantage of a weakened Lakers team that lost Magic Johnson to retirement earlier in the season, winning 3–1 in the first round. They followed that up with a five-game defeat of the Phoenix Suns in the second round, before booking another trip to the finals with a six-game elimination of the Utah Jazz in the conference finals.

The 1992 NBA Finals would cement the reputations of both Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler (placing the latter firmly in the former's shadow).

Road to the Finals[edit]

Main article: 1992 NBA Playoffs
Portland Trail Blazers (Western Conference Champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Portland Trail Blazers 57 25 .695
2 y-Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 2
3 x-Golden State Warriors 55 27 .671 2
4 x-Phoenix Suns 53 29 .646 4
5 x-San Antonio Spurs 47 35 .573 10
6 x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 10
7 x-Los Angeles Clippers 45 37 .549 12
8 x-Los Angeles Lakers 43 39 .524 14
9 Houston Rockets 42 40 .512 15
10 Sacramento Kings 29 53 .354 28
11 Denver Nuggets 24 58 .293 33
12 Dallas Mavericks 22 60 .268 35
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 15 67 .183 42
1st seed in the West, 2nd best league record
Regular season
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Chicago Bulls 67 15 .817
2 y-Boston Celtics 51 31 .622 16
3 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 57 25 .695 10
4 x-New York Knicks 51 31 .622 16
5 x-Detroit Pistons 48 34 .585 19
6 x-New Jersey Nets 40 42 .488 27
7 x-Indiana Pacers 40 42 .488 27
8 x-Miami Heat 38 44 .463 29
9 Atlanta Hawks 38 44 .463 29
10 Philadelphia 76ers 35 47 .427 32
11t Milwaukee Bucks 31 51 .378 36
11t Charlotte Hornets 31 51 .378 36
13 Washington Bullets 25 57 .305 42
14 Orlando Magic 21 61 .256 46
1st seed in the East, best league record
Defeated the (8) Los Angeles Lakers, 3–1 First Round Defeated the (8) Miami Heat, 3–0
Defeated the (4) Phoenix Suns, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) New York Knicks, 4–3
Defeated the (2) Utah Jazz, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (3) Cleveland Cavaliers, 4–2

Regular season series[edit]

The Chicago Bulls won both games in the regular season series:

November 29, 1991
Chicago Bulls 116, Portland Trail Blazers 114 (2OT)
March 1, 1992
Portland Trail Blazers 91, Chicago Bulls 111

Starting lineups[edit]

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame‡

Chicago Position Portland
John Paxson PG Terry Porter
Michael Jordan SG Clyde Drexler
Scottie Pippen SF Jerome Kersey
Horace Grant PF Buck Williams
Bill Cartwright C Kevin Duckworth

Team rosters[edit]

Chicago Bulls[edit]

Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

Series summary[edit]

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team Local Time
Game 1 Wednesday, June 3 Chicago Bulls 122–89 (1–0) Portland Trail Blazers 8:00pm CDT
Game 2 Friday, June 5 Chicago Bulls 104–115 OT (1–1) Portland Trail Blazers 8:00pm CDT
Game 3 Sunday, June 7 Portland Trail Blazers 84–94 (1–2) Chicago Bulls 4:30pm PDT
Game 4 Wednesday, June 10 Portland Trail Blazers 93–88 (2–2) Chicago Bulls 6:00pm PDT
Game 5 Friday, June 12 Portland Trail Blazers 106–119 (2–3) Chicago Bulls 6:00pm PDT
Game 6 Sunday, June 14 Chicago Bulls 97–93 (4–2) Portland Trail Blazers 6:30pm CDT

Game 1[edit]

June 3
9:00et
Portland Trail Blazers 89, Chicago Bulls 122
Scoring by quarter: 30–33, 21–33, 17–38, 21–18
Pts: Drexler, Robinson 16 each
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 7
Asts: Clyde Drexler 7
Pts: Michael Jordan 39
Rebs: Pippen, Williams 9 each
Asts: Michael Jordan 11
Chicago leads the series, 1–0
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
Referees:
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta

Michael Jordan dominated from the beginning, breaking the record for most points in a first half in the playoffs once held by Elgin Baylor (Michael had 35, Baylor had 33). This included six first-half threes (also a record). It was after the sixth three-pointer that Jordan turned towards the broadcast table and famously shrugged to indicate his surprise. Jordan's shrug became a highlight reel mainstay. Portland held their final lead at 45-44 in the second quarter before Chicago went on a 22-6 run to grab a 66-51 halftime lead and take control. The Bulls finished with a 122-89 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Game 2[edit]

June 5
9:00et
Portland Trail Blazers 115, Chicago Bulls 104 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 31–23, 23–22, 16–32, 27–20, Overtime: 18–7
Pts: Clyde Drexler 26
Rebs: Buck Williams 14
Asts: Clyde Drexler 8
Pts: Michael Jordan 39
Rebs: Horace Grant 12
Asts: Jordan, Pippen 10 each
Series tied, 1–1
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 22 Paul Mihalik

With the Blackhawks playing for the Stanley Cup when the Bulls reached the Finals, Game 2 would have had conflict with Game 6 of the Blackhawks' series, as both teams would have played on the same day at Chicago Stadium.[5] However, the Blackhawks series ended in 4 games, so no rescheduling was needed.

Portland built an eight-point lead in the first quarter, and also built a nine-point lead in the half. However, as in Game 1, their lead started to disappear as the Bulls made their run - Jordan would score 14 points while Paxson would score 9 points in the third quarter, taking a seven-point lead in the third quarter. Chicago was looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series when Clyde Drexler fouled out with 4:36 remaining. With the Bulls up by 10, Jordan started to lose his poise, committing a foul and then a technical foul. This would help Portland build a 15-5 run, pushing the game into overtime after Jordan narrowly missed at the buzzer. In overtime, Portland dominated, especially Ainge, who scored six points with one minute remaining as the Blazers won 115-104 - the Bulls' worst home defeat in an NBA Finals game.

Game 3[edit]

June 7
7:00et
Chicago Bulls 94, Portland Trail Blazers 84
Scoring by quarter: 34–26, 20–19, 16–15, 24–24
Pts: Michael Jordan 26
Rebs: Grant, Pippen 8 each
Asts: Scottie Pippen 7
Pts: Clyde Drexler 32
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 12
Asts: Terry Porter 4
Chicago leads the series, 2–1
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,888
Referees:
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

Chicago had lost home court advantage, but dominated Portland, holding them to numerous franchise playoff lows: 84 points in a game, 39 second-half points and 28 field goals. Chicago would go on a 30-13 run in the first half to gain a 44-30 lead which Portland would cut to three with 7:09 left in the third before the Bulls went to another 12-3 run. Portland would then go on a field goal drought, not scoring from the 4:33 mark in the third quarter until the 9:36 mark of the fourth, a 6:57 stretch.

Game 4[edit]

June 10
9:00et
Chicago Bulls 88, Portland Trail Blazers 93
Scoring by quarter: 26–18, 22–27, 21–21, 19–27
Pts: Michael Jordan 32
Rebs: Horace Grant 10
Asts: Jordan, Pippen 6 each
Pts: Drexler, Kersey 21 each
Rebs: Kevin Duckworth 11
Asts: Clyde Drexler 9
Series tied, 2–2
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,888
Referees:
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta

Portland was still playing as they were during Game 3, not scoring for four minutes and finding themselves down 10-0. The Bulls would be up 22-9 before the Blazers climbed up and cut the deficit to three at half but found themselves down again in the third quarter. While Jordan scored 13 points in the third quarter, he would not score in the game's final 10:26. Portland would go on a 15-6 run to even the series at two games.

Game 5[edit]

June 12
9:00et
Chicago Bulls 119, Portland Trail Blazers 106
Scoring by quarter: 39–26, 27–28, 28–24, 25–28
Pts: Michael Jordan 46
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 11
Asts: Scottie Pippen 9
Pts: Clyde Drexler 30
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 12
Asts: Terry Porter 8
Chicago leads the series, 3–2
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,888
Referees:
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins

The Bulls jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back, answering every Blazers comeback attempt with a run of their own. Chicago opened the second half on a 16-8 run to give the Bulls a 20-point lead. Portland didn't pull back within single digits until less than four minutes were left in the game, and ended up losing 119-106.

Michael Jordan, who briefly sat with a bad ankle, finished with 46 points on 14-of-23 from the field and 16-of-19 from the line. Scottie Pippen fell just short of a triple-double, with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Clyde Drexler scored 30 points to lead six Portland players in double figures. However, Portland had 18 turnovers and shot just 43.8 percent from the field, compared to 54.8 percent for the Bulls.

Game 6[edit]

June 14
7:30et
Portland Trail Blazers 93, Chicago Bulls 97
Scoring by quarter: 25–19, 25–25, 29–20, 14–33
Pts: Drexler, Kersey 24 each
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 9
Asts: Terry Porter 8
Pts: Michael Jordan 33
Rebs: Scott Williams 8
Asts: Horace Grant 5
Chicago wins the series, 4–2
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis

Portland started strongly as they held Michael Jordan scoreless for the game's first 11 minutes, and would take a 43-28 lead midway through the second quarter before Chicago went on a 16-7 run and cut the deficit to only six points. Portland also dominated the third quarter, building a 79-64 lead. Phil Jackson would go with four reserves and Scottie Pippen to start the fourth quarter, cutting Portland's lead to three after only three minutes. Jordan returned and had two steals and converted them to hoops to give Chicago a permanent lead. The Bulls' defense would hold Portland to only six points in the final four minutes, leading the Bulls to their second straight championship.

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Chicago Bulls
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Armstrong, B. J.B. J. Armstrong 6 0 17.8 .429 .250 .571 0.8 2.3 0.3 0.0 5.8
Cartwright, BillBill Cartwright 6 6 25.2 .500 .000 .500 4.0 1.5 0.5 0.2 6.3
Grant, HoraceHorace Grant 6 6 37.8 .561 .000 .529 7.8 4.0 0.8 2.3 9.2
Hansen, BobBob Hansen 5 0 8.0 .600 .750 .500 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.0 3.2
Hodges, CraigCraig Hodges 2 0 3.0 1.000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 1.0
Jordan, MichaelMichael Jordan 6 6 42.3 .526 .429 .891 4.8 6.5 1.7 0.3 35.8
King, StaceyStacey King 4 0 12.0 .333 .000 .667 2.5 0.0 0.3 0.3 4.5
Levingston, CliffCliff Levingston 6 0 10.8 .450 .000 .500 2.2 0.7 0.2 0.2 3.8
Paxson, JohnJohn Paxson 6 6 30.8 .520 .389 .750 0.8 2.7 1.3 0.0 10.3
Perdue, WillWill Perdue 3 0 3.3 .333 .000 .000 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7
Pippen, ScottieScottie Pippen 6 6 40.7 .484 .222 .786 8.3 7.7 1.5 0.7 20.8
Williams, ScottScott Williams 6 0 21.3 .542 .000 .778 6.2 1.0 0.2 1.3 5.5
Portland Trail Blazers
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Abdelnaby, AlaaAlaa Abdelnaby 1 0 6.0 .000 .000 .500 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
Ainge, DannyDanny Ainge 6 0 23.0 .434 .235 .714 2.0 2.5 0.8 0.2 10.0
Bryant, MarkMark Bryant 1 0 21.0 .625 .000 .000 5.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 10.0
Cooper, WayneWayne Cooper 1 0 8.0 .000 .000 .000 2.0 0.0 0.0 2.0 0.0
Drexler, ClydeClyde Drexler 6 6 39.7 .407 .150 .893 7.8 5.3 1.3 1.0 24.8
Duckworth, KevinKevin Duckworth 6 6 27.3 .431 .000 .706 6.8 1.5 0.5 0.7 9.3
Kersey, JeromeJerome Kersey 6 6 38.0 .481 .000 .733 8.7 3.3 1.8 0.2 14.8
Pack, RobertRobert Pack 2 0 8.0 .167 .000 .750 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.0 2.5
Porter, TerryTerry Porter 6 6 43.8 .471 .231 .824 4.3 4.7 1.0 0.3 16.2
Robinson, CliffCliff Robinson 6 0 24.3 .442 .000 .593 3.0 2.2 0.8 0.7 10.3
Whatley, EnnisEnnis Whatley 5 0 5.2 .286 .000 .000 0.2 0.2 0.6 0.0 0.8
Williams, BuckBuck Williams 6 6 35.2 .500 .000 .938 7.3 1.0 0.8 0.5 7.8

Miscellaneous Information[edit]

The Blackhawks, the Bulls' co-tenants, were swept in their finals by the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, losing the deciding game at Chicago Stadium.

Untouchabulls and "Jam"[edit]

Just months later, the 1991–92 NBA season documentary Untouchabulls was released. Narrated by Hal Douglas, it recaps the Bulls' championship season. "Jam" by Michael Jackson was used as the theme song for the documentary. That same year, Jordan was featured in Jackson's music video for "Jam".

Quotes from the Finals[edit]

Here's Jordan for three, yes!!! Did you see that look? Michael, indicating he can't believe it.

— -Marv Albert calling Michael Jordan's shrug following his NBA Finals record sixth first half three-pointer in Game 1.

Paxson spins away from Kersey, to Michael, three again. Oh! Michael good again! Oh my goodness!

— -Bulls radio announcer Neil Funk calling the same play.

This is the greatest performance, maybe ever, in a single half, playoffs or in the history of this league!

— -NBA radio announcer Joe McConnell commenting on Jordan's first-half performance in Game 1.

Aftermath[edit]

The Bulls won their third straight championship in the 1992–93 season, winning 57 games and defeating the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. In the offseason that preceded Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen played for the Dream Team that won the gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics, making them the first players to win NBA championship and Olympic gold medal in the same year (Pippen would achieve this feat again in 1996). That team also included Blazers guard Clyde Drexler. This made Jordan, Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks and Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors the only players to have won Olympic gold medals as both amateurs and professionals, having played for Team USA in Los Angeles.[6][7]

The 1992 Finals would be the Blazers' last finals appearance to date. In the next three seasons, the Blazers rebuilt the team, hiring general manager Bob Whitsitt in 1994 and lost the core of their 1992 Finals team to free agency and trades, beginning with Kevin Duckworth's departure to the Bullets in the 1993 offseason. The last remaining piece of the team, Clyde Drexler, was traded and went on to win the NBA championship with the Houston Rockets in 1995.

The 1991–92 Bulls, along with the 1995–96 Bulls, were named one of the 10 greatest teams in NBA history during the league's golden anniversary.

The 1992 championship marked the only time the Bulls celebrated their title at the Chicago Stadium. Following the awarding ceremony by commissioner David Stern, they returned to the court to show their newly-won title in front of Bulls fans. This act eventually led to Stern's decision to present the NBA championship to the winning team at center court in front of the fans, starting in 1994; the only exception was when the Lakers won in 2001 at Philadelphia's First Union Center, but decided to hold the ceremony in their locker room. Two other home championship celebrations followed in the 1996 and 1997 Finals, this time at the similarly-constructed but bigger United Center.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Clifton (May 30, 1992). "It's Bulls Against Blazers As Jordan Rules Again". The New York Times. p. 27. 
  2. ^ "Clyde Drexler, now no worse than the NBA's No. 2 player". Sports Illustrated. May 11, 1992. 
  3. ^ Isaacson, Melissa (May 30, 1992). "Bulls clinch on Jordan's late revival". The Chicago Tribune. p. Sports.1. 
  4. ^ Wilbon, Michael (May 27, 1992). "Chicago's the Winning City With Blackhawks and Bulls". The Washington Post. p. B03. Certainly you've wondered by now how many times teams from the same city have won NBA and NHL championships in the same season. None...This will be the first. Chicago: City of Champions. 
  5. ^ Kiley, Mike (May 27, 1992). "If necessary, Game 6 may be pushed back". The Chicago Tribune. p. Sports.8. The Blackhawks may have to reschedule Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals because of a possible Chicago Stadium conflict with the Bulls. If Game 6, scheduled for Friday, June 5, remains necessary in the best-of-seven series against Pittsburgh, it may be pushed back a day...The Bulls are scheduled to play Game 2 of the championship series in the Stadium on June 5. 
  6. ^ "Games of the XXV Olympiad – 1992". USA Basketball Inc. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Games of the XXIII Olympiad – 1984". USA Basketball, Inc. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 

External links[edit]