1996 NBA Finals
The 1996 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 1995–96 National Basketball Association season. The Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics played the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls, the teams 136 combined regular season wins shattered the previous record of 125, set in 1985. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, Chicago won the series 4 games to 2. Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP, NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashād and Hannah Storm. Hal Douglas narrated the season-ending documentary Unstopabulls for NBA Entertainment and this was the 50th NBA Finals played. The Bulls were coming off a season in which Michael Jordan returned from an 18-month retirement, J. Armstrong, Stacey King, Will Perdue, and Scott Williams. The former two retired while the five left via free agency. In their place was a new core of such as Luc Longley, Toni Kukoč, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper, Jud Buechler, Bill Wennington. The end result of this ensemble was perhaps the greatest regular season of any team in NBA history at the time, as the Bulls won a then-record 72 games.
They continued to gain momentum in the playoffs, beginning with a sweep of the Miami Heat in the first round, followed by a five-game defeat of the New York Knicks in the second round. The conference finals was a rematch of the previous series with the Orlando Magic. The SuperSonics were led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, with George Karl as head coach, two straight first-round exits followed, including the stunning 1994 loss to the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets. Motivated by a string of early playoff losses, Seattle finished the 1996 regular season with a franchise-record 64 wins. Seattle began its run with a four-game win over the Sacramento Kings. They beat the Utah Jazz in seven games in the finals to advance to its first NBA championship round since 1979. Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the team, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame‡ All times are in Eastern Daylight Time. Although Chicago was not playing well offensively, they were able to compensate with superb defense. Chicago was leading only by 2 at the end of the quarter, however in the final quarter shots by Toni Kukoč and 2 key steals by Ron Harper clinched the Bulls a win
Marv Albert is an American sportscaster. Honored for his work as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, from 1967 to 2004, he was known as the voice of the New York Knicks. Albert currently works for Turner Sports, serving as announcer for NBA games on TNT. In addition to calling both professional and college basketball, he has experience announcing other sports such as American football, ice hockey, horse racing, Albert has called the play-by-play of six Super Bowls, NBA Finals, and seven Stanley Cup Finals. He has called the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for TNT with Jim Courier and he worked as a co-host and reporter for two World Series. Albert was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, where he went to Abraham Lincoln High School, while Albert grew up, members of his family owned a grocery store on Brighton Beach Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets known as Aufrichtigs. He attended Syracuse Universitys Newhouse School of Public Communications from 1960 through 1963, in 1962, he served as the voice of the AAA Syracuse Chiefs.
He graduated from New York University in 1965 and his son Kenny Albert has been a part-time play-by-play announcer for the Knicks since 2009, whenever the older Alberts successor Mike Breen is unavailable. For a brief period before he resumed his broadcasting duties following his sexual assault arrest, Albert anchored MSGs former nightly sports news report. Marv Albert was the lead broadcaster for the NBA on NBC for most of its run from 1990 to 2002, calling every NBA Finals during that timeframe except for 1998,1999. During this time, Bob Costas had taken over the lead job, marv resumed his previous position for the 2000–2001 season and called Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals which was the final NBA telecast on NBC. During his time on NBC, Albert continued as lead man for the New York Knicks on local MSG Network telecasts. When he regained the lead position on NBC, he continued to call play-by-play for both networks until the end of NBCs coverage in 2002. Albert continues to be the lead announcer for National Basketball Association games on TNT.
Albert sustained facial lacerations, a concussion, and a sprained ankle, the 2002 NBA Playoffs were scheduled to begin two days later, with Albert scheduled to call multiple games that week. Bob Costas filled in those games, and Albert returned to call Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings, beginning with the 2008–09 season, Albert was paired with his TNT broadcast colleague Mike Fratello on the YES Network. However, with the Nets struggles in the 2009–10 season, Nets management relegated Albert to secondary play-by-play, since Ian Eagle has taken over the broadcasts. In 2011, Albert left the YES Network to join CBS Sports for NFL, Albert hosts a basketball-focused interview show on NBA TV, which airs on YES
The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association as a team of the leagues Western Conference Pacific Division. Since 1992, the Suns have played their games at Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix. The Suns began play as a team in 1968. The franchise owns the NBAs fourth-best all-time winning percentage, winning 55 percent of its games, as a result, based on their all-time win-loss percentage, the Suns are the team with the highest winning percentage to have never won an NBA championship. The Suns were one of two franchises to join the NBA at the start of the 1968–69 season, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks, the team played its first 24 seasons at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located northwest of downtown Phoenix. Besides, part of the group were entertainers, such as Andy Williams, Bobbie Gentry and Ed Ames. There were many critics, including then-NBA commissioner J. Walter Kennedy, who said that Phoenix was too hot, too small and they paid an entry fee of $2 million.
Suns was preferred over Scorpions, Thunderbirds, Mavericks, Tumbleweeds and Cougars. Stan Fabe, who owned a printing plant in Tucson, designed the teams first iconic logo for a mere $200. However, they were disappointed with the results, in the 1968 NBA Expansion Draft, notable Suns pick-ups were future Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich and Dick Van Arsdale. Jerry Colangelo, a scout, came over from the Chicago Bulls as the Suns first general manager at the age of 28. Both Goodrich and Van Arsdale were selected to the All-Star Game in their first season with the freshly minted Suns. Goodrich returned to his team, the Lakers, after two seasons with the Suns, but Van Arsdale spent the rest of his playing days as a Sun. The Suns last-place finish that led to a coin flip for the number-one overall pick for the 1969 NBA draft with the expansion-mate Bucks. Milwaukee won the flip, and the rights to draft UCLA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, while the Bucks went on to win the NBA Finals in 1971 and reach the Finals again in 1974, the Suns would not go to the Finals until 1976.
The 1969–70 season posted better results for the Suns, finishing 39–43, the next two seasons, the Suns finished with 48- and 49-win seasons, however they did not qualify for the playoffs in either year, and would not reach the playoffs again until 1976. They drafted center and eventual fan favorite Alvan Adams from the University of Oklahoma, the Suns and Buffalo Braves made a midseason trade, with Phoenix sending forward/center John Shumate to Buffalo in exchange for forward Gar Heard
The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association as a club of the leagues Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 and one of eight NBA teams to survive the leagues first decade, the Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League s Boston Bruins. The franchises 17 championships are the most of any NBA franchise, as a percentage of championships won, the Celtics are the most successful franchise to date in the major four traditional North American professional sports leagues. The Celtics have played the Lakers a record 12 times in the Finals, including their most recent appearances in 2008 and 2010, four Celtics players have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for an NBA record total of 10 MVP awards. Their mascot Lucky the Leprechaun is a nod to the teams Irish heritage, in 1950, the Celtics signed Chuck Cooper, becoming the first NBA franchise to draft a black player.
The Celtics struggled during their years, until the hiring of coach Red Auerbach. In the franchises early days, Auerbach had no assistants, ran all the practices, did all the scouting—both of opposing teams and college draft prospects—and scheduled all the road trips. One of the first great players to join the Celtics was Bob Cousy, Cousy eventually became the property of the Chicago Stags, but when that franchise went bankrupt, Cousy went to the Celtics in a dispersal draft. After the 1955–56 season, Auerbach made a stunning trade and he sent perennial All-Star Ed Macauley to the St. Louis Hawks along with the draft rights to Cliff Hagan in exchange for the second overall pick in the draft. Auerbach acquired Holy Cross standout, and 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year and Heinsohn worked extraordinarily well with Cousy, and they were the players around whom Auerbach would build the champion Celtics for more than a decade. With Bill Russell, the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals and defeated the St.
Louis Hawks in seven games, Russell went on to win 11 championships, making him the most decorated player in NBA history. In 1958, the Celtics again advanced to the NBA Finals, with the acquisition of K. C. Jones that year, the Celtics began a dynasty that would last for more than a decade. In 1959, the Celtics won the NBA Championship after sweeping the Minneapolis Lakers, during that time, the Celtics met the Lakers in the Finals five times, starting an intense and often bitter rivalry that has spanned generations. In 1964, the Celtics became the first NBA team to have an all African-American starting lineup. On December 26,1964, Willie Naulls replaced an injured Tommy Heinsohn, joining Tom Satch Sanders, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, the Celtics defeated St. Louis 97–84. Boston won its next 11 games with Naulls starting in place of Heinsohn, the Celtics of the late-1950s–60s are widely considered as one of the most dominant teams of all time. Auerbach retired as coach after the 1965–66 season and Russell took over as player-coach, with his appointment, Russell became the first African-American coach in any U. S. pro sport
Jesse Jess Kersey is an American retired basketball referee who worked for the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association. Born in Newport News, Kersey attended Thomas Nelson Community College. Joining the NBA in 1973, Kersey was a highly regarded referee and officiated at the 1975 ABA All-Star Game, the NBA All-Star Games in 1983,1987 and 2002, and the NBA Finals in 1983,1984 and 1991. During his 30 year career, he officiated 1,911 regular season games,189 playoff games and 18 NBA Finals games, in July 1997, Kersey resigned from the NBA after 24 seasons as a referee after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Kersey returned to the NBA for the 1998–99 season and continued working games until the 2006–07 season, on April 10,2007, Kersey was injured after Corey Maggette collided with him, and Kersey underwent hip replacement surgery the following year. Kersey was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012
Richard W. Dick Bavetta is an American retired professional basketball referee for the National Basketball Association. Since starting in 1975, he had never missed an assigned game and his game on April 12,2013 in Washington was his 2, 600th consecutive game as an NBA official. Bavetta was born in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York on December 10,1939 and his father was an officer for the New York Police Department, and his mother was a homemaker. Bavetta attended Power Memorial Academy in New York City and is a 1962 graduate of St. Francis College in New York and he began officiating after his brother, who officiated for the American Basketball Association, convinced him that it would be an interesting career. In mid-1960s, he began to attend regional referee tryouts in the hopes of becoming an NBA referee, however, he was rejected for nine years due to his small physique. Bavetta was finally hired by the NBA in 1975 following the retirement of Mendy Rudolph and he debuted December 2,1975 at Madison Square Garden in an NBA game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics.
His first ten years in the league were tough as he was ranked bottom among NBA referees in performance evaluations and led the league in technical fouls. To improve his officiating, Bavetta refereed games for the New Jersey pro league and Rucker League in Harlem during the off-seasons, in 1983, he became the first referee to undergo rigorous physical training. He ran six to eight miles and took three-hour naps every day and his effort paid off when he emerged as one of the best referees. In the 1980s, he was named chief referee, who has the power to approve or overrule calls made by other officials and he was assigned to officiate his first playoff game in 1986. At one point in the game, Celtics forward Larry Bird, Bavetta believed that this game assisted in the progression of his career in the NBA. From 1990 to 2000, Bavetta regularly refereed playoff games and was ranked at the top referees in terms of performance evaluation. In 2000, he was one of the referees in the NBA. However, television replays on NBC showed otherwise, Bavetta did not leave the game immediately, opting to wait until in the day to have surgery.
He returned the day to officiate a New Jersey Nets game. On February 8,2006, Bavetta officiated his 2, 135th NBA game, Bavetta said the secret to his longevity was wearing five pairs of socks, which he claims helped keep his feet in good shape. Contributing to his health, Bavetta says he runs five to eight miles every day. For his longevity in the league, he has received the nickname the Cal Ripken, during the 2006–07 season, Bavetta officiated a December 16,2006 game between the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago. The Bulls compete in the National Basketball Association as a club of the leagues Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded on January 16,1966, the team plays its home games at the United Center, an arena shared with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League. The Bulls saw their greatest success during the 1990s and they are known for having one of the NBAs greatest dynasties, winning six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six championship teams were led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, the Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships and never lose an NBA Finals series in their history. The Bulls won 72 games during the 1995–96 NBA season, setting an NBA record that stood until the Golden State Warriors won 73 games during the 2015–16 NBA season. The Bulls were the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a season.
Many experts and analysts consider the 1996 Bulls to be one of the greatest teams in NBA history, Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose have both won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award while playing for the Bulls, for a total of six MVP awards. The Bulls share rivalries with the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, the Bulls rivalry with the Pistons was highlighted heavily during the late 1980s and early 1990s. On January 16,1966 Chicago was granted an NBA franchise to be called the Bulls, the Chicago Bulls became the third NBA franchise in the city, after the Chicago Stags and the Chicago Packers/Zephyrs. The Bulls founder, Dick Klein, was the Bulls only owner to play professional basketball. He served as the Bulls president and general manager in their initial years, after the 1966 NBA Expansion Draft, the newly founded Chicago Bulls were allowed to acquire players from the previously established teams in the league for the upcoming 1966–67 season. The team started in the 1966–67 NBA season, and posted the best record by a team in NBA history.
In their first two seasons, the Bulls played most of their games at the International Amphitheatre, before moving to Chicago Stadium. Fan interest was diminishing after four seasons, with one game in the 1967–68 NBA season having an attendance of 891. The Bulls under Williams and head coach Dick Motta qualified for four straight playoffs and had attendances grow to over 10,000, in 1972, the Bulls set a franchise win-loss record at 57 wins and 25 losses. During the 1970s, the Bulls relied on Jerry Sloan, forwards Bob Love and Chet Walker, point guard Norm Van Lier, the team made the conference finals in 1975 but lost to the Golden State Warriors,4 games to 3. After four 50-win seasons, Williams returned to Philadelphia, and Motta decided to become GM as well, the Bulls ended up declining, winning only 24 games in the 1975–1976 season
In basketball, an official is a person who has the responsibility to enforce the rules and maintain the order of the game. The title of official applies to the scorers and timekeepers, officials are usually referred to as referees, generally there is one lead referee and one or two umpires, depending on whether there is a two- or three-person crew. In the NBA, the official is called the crew chief. In FIBA-sanctioned play, two-man crews consist of a referee and an umpire, both classes of officials have equal rights to control almost all aspects of the game. In most cases, the lead official performs the jump ball to begin the contest, though NFHS, in American high school and college basketball, the officials generally wear black and white striped shirts with black side panels, black pants and black shoes. Some state high school association allow officials to wear shirts with black pin strips instead of the black. NBA officials wear shirts with black slacks and black shoes. The NBA shirt is grey with black colored shoulders and sleeves, the WNBA referee shirt is similar to the NBA referee shirt, except that its shoulder and sleeve colors are orange and the WNBA logo takes the place of the NBA logo.
FIBA officials wear a grey and black official referee shirt, black trousers, black socks, officials in competitions organized by Euroleague Basketball —the Euroleague and Eurocup—wear an orange referee shirt. Officials in the Israel Basketball Association generally wear the Euroleagues orange uniform shirt, most officials slacks are currently belt-less, while most officials shirts are collar-less, V-neck shirts. All officials wear a whistle that is used to play as a result of a foul or a violation on the court. In all instances of officiating, hand signals are used to indicate the nature of the infraction or to administer the game, in higher levels of college and professional ball, all officials wear a timing device on the belt-line called PTS. The device is used by on court officials to start and stop the clock in a timely manner, rather than waiting for the scoreboard operator to do so. The officials must ensure that the game runs smoothly, and this encompasses a variety of different responsibilities, from calling the game to player and spectator management.
They carry a duty of care to the players they officiate and to ensure that the court and all equipment used is in a safe and usable condition. Should there be an issue that inhibits the safe playing of the game, quite often, the job of an official surpasses that of the game at hand, as they must overcome unforeseen situations that may or may not have an influence on the game. There are two methods for officiating a basketball game, either two-person or three-person mechanics depending on how many officials are available to work the game. In two-person mechanics, each official works either the lead or the trail position, the lead position is normally along the baseline of the court, with the trail position having its starting point at the free throw line extended on the left side of the court facing the basket
Paul Douglas Westphal is an American retired basketball player and a former head coach with several National Basketball Association and college teams. Westphal has had a career in the NBA, both as a player and as a coach. As a player, he won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in the 1974 NBA Finals, in addition to being a five-time All-Star selection, from 1977 to 1981, Westphal earned three All-NBA First Team selections and one Second Team honor. Later, he returned to the Finals in 1993 as head coach of the Phoenix Suns and he returned to his home state of California when he was the mens basketball head coach at Pepperdine University from 2001 to 2006. Westphal is an assistant coach on Lionel Hollins staff on the Brooklyn Nets. Westphal was born in Torrance, California and he went to Aviation High School and USC. He was the 10th overall pick in the 1972 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, after three seasons in Boston, including a championship in 1974, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns.
In 1976, Westphal helped the Suns reach their first-ever NBA Finals appearance, Game 5 of that series is often called the greatest game ever played in NBA history. With time winding down in regulation and the Suns trailing 94–91, Westphal poked the ball away from Jo Jo White, took a pass from Dennis Awtrey. He was fouled on the play and hit the free throw to tie it at 94–94, in the second overtime, with 15 seconds left and the Suns trailing 109–108 after just making a basket, Westphal stole the ball from John Havlicek after Havlicek received the inbounds pass. This began a chain of events culminated with Curtis Perry hitting a jumper to give the Suns a 110–109 lead. After the Perry basket and a Celtics timeout, Havlicek got the ball with five seconds left, the buzzer sounded and Celtic fans poured on the floor, thinking the Celtics had won. However, referee Richie Powers correctly ruled that Havliceks shot went through the basket with two left on the clock. A technical foul was assessed, the Celtics made the subsequent free throw, the resulting timeout call allowed Phoenix to inbound the ball at midcourt, rather than go the full length of the court.
Garfield Heard made a shot for the Suns that sent the game into triple-overtime, Westphal was 6th in the NBA in scoring average for the 1977–78 season at 25.2 ppg. In that season, he became the first NBA All-Star Weekend H-O-R-S-E Competition champion, the following 1978–79 season, he was 7th in scoring average with 24.0 points per game. After the 1979–80 season, he was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics for Dennis Johnson where he played one season before heading to the New York Knicks, in 1983 he returned to Phoenix for his final NBA season. He had been injured and only played in 59 of the 82 games of his final season
1995 NBA Finals
The 1995 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1994–95 National Basketball Association season. The series pitted the Orlando Magic against the Houston Rockets, the pre-series hype and build-up of the Finals was centered on the meeting of the two centers Shaquille ONeal of the Magic and Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rockets. Going into the series the matchup was compared to the Bill Russell–Wilt Chamberlain matchup of the 1960s, the Rockets became the first team in NBA history to win the championship as a sixth seed. In addition, they became the first team in NBA history to beat four 50-win teams in a single en route to the championship. The Rockets would win a playoff-record nine road games in the 1995 playoffs and it was the second NBA Finals sweep in the 2-3-2 Finals format. The Rockets became the first repeat NBA Champion in history to keep the title with a sweep, this feat would be achieved by the New Jersey Devils that same year, when they won the Stanley Cup over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Orlando Magic began the 1995 NBA Finals at home, hosting the defending champion Houston Rockets, the more experienced Rockets went on to win in overtime and eventually swept the Magic, winning their second consecutive NBA Championship. The season-ending documentary Double Clutch by Hal Douglas, was released by NBA Entertainment to coincide with the Rockets championship season, the Rockets entered the 1994–95 season as defending champions, but they struggled to maintain last seasons form due to injuries and off-court-distractions. However, the Rockets once again lived up to its Clutch City reputation come playoff time, en route to the Finals, Houston defeated three teams with 55 or more victories. The Magic were only in their season of existence. Orlandos road to the Finals began with a convincing 3–1 series win over the Boston Celtics. They followed it up with a six-game ouster of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the second round, all times are in Eastern Daylight Time. Kenny Smith hit a record seven 3-pointers, the last tying the game up at 110 with 1.6 seconds left following Nick Andersons four straight missed foul shots.
In overtime, Hakeem Olajuwon tips in a finger roll by Clyde Drexler with three-tenths of a second left to win the game. Hakeem Olajuwon scored 34 points to lead the Rockets to a 117-106 victory to take a 2-0 series lead, the Magic, on the other hand, becomes the 2nd team in NBA Finals history to lose the first two of their four home games. Robert Horry hits a 3-pointer to give Houston a 104-100 lead with 14.1 seconds left, Olajuwon outscores ONeal by 10 points and caps off the sweep by hitting a memorable yet uncharacteristic 3-pointer in front of ONeal. Although both centers played well, Olajuwon is generally considered to have outplayed ONeal and Olajuwon at the time were the only players to win the award consecutively. Houston Rockets Orlando Magic Dont ever underestimate the heart of a champion, Drexler puts the move on Anderson
Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award
The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1969 NBA Finals. The award is decided by a panel of nine media members, the person with the highest votes wins the award. In at least one NBA Finals, fans balloting on NBA. com accounted for the tenth vote, the award was originally a black trophy with a gold basketball-shaped sphere at the top, similar to the Larry OBrien Trophy, until a new trophy was introduced in 2005. Since its inception, the award has given to 30 different players. Michael Jordan is a record six-time award winner, magic Johnson, Shaquille ONeal, Tim Duncan and LeBron James won the award three times in their careers. Jordan and ONeal are the players to win the award in three consecutive seasons. Johnson is the only ever to win the award, as well as the youngest at 20 years old. Andre Iguodala is the winner to have not started every game in the series. Jerry West, the first ever awardee, is the person to win the award while being on the losing team in the NBA Finals.
Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Olajuwon and James have won the award in two consecutive seasons. Abdul-Jabbar and James are the players to win the award for two different teams. Olajuwon of Nigeria, who became a naturalized U. S. citizen in 1993, Tony Parker of France, cedric Maxwell is the only Finals MVP winner eligible for the Hall of Fame who has not been voted in. NBA Most Valuable Player Award NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award General Specific
1992 NBA Finals
The 1992 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1991–92 NBA 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. A month earlier Sports Illustrated had even listed Drexler as Jordans No.1 rival on a cover the two appeared on together before the playoffs, 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, the Bulls won their first NBA championship the previous season, ushering in a new era in the league. Proving that their championship was no fluke, the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season, finishing with a 67–15 record. 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 took its toll on the Bulls. Up next were the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 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, 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 defeat of the Phoenix Suns in the second round. The 1992 NBA Finals would cement the reputations of both Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler and it was after the sixth three-pointer that Jordan turned towards the broadcast table and famously shrugged to indicate his surprise.
Jordans 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, the Blackhawks series ended in 4 games, so no rescheduling was needed. Portland built an eight-point lead in the first quarter, and built a nine-point lead in the half, 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 this would help Portland build a 15-5 run, pushing the game into overtime after Jordan narrowly missed at the buzzer