Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bulls’

Throwback Thursday: Bulls win first NBA championship


VIDEO: Relive the Bulls’ top 10 plays from the 1991 Finals

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s Topic: Chicago Bulls win 1991 Finals

Entering the 1990-91 season, the Chicago Bulls had experienced playoff success and also bitter playoff losses. Years upon years of failing to get past the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons culminated in the 1991 East finals, where Chicago exorcised its demons against Detroit. In sweeping the Pistons, the Bulls reached their first Finals, squaring off against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.

After falling in Game 1 at home, the Bulls rebounded and rattled off four straight wins, clinching the title on June 12, 1991 to claim their first NBA championship. Little would Chicago know at the time, but a dynasty would begin with that Finals series win as the Bulls were crowned champions in ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97 and ’98.

In honor of the Bulls’ first title, we take a look back at the storied career of the best player on that team, Michael Jordan:


Gallery: Michael Jordan’s career

What are your favorite Jordan memories? Leave your comments below!

The Breakdown: The Shrug


VIDEO: The Shrug

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The 2015 NBA Finals begin tomorrow night, but 23 years ago today was Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers, which marks one of the great moments of Michael Jordan‘s career: The Shrug.

If you don’t remember The Shrug, the video is above. Let’s go to the tape for a moment-by-moment breakdown…

0:18 — We see fans streaming into the building, let by a screaming young man wearing a tank top and shorts, who may or may not be dressed to actually play in a basketball game instead of watch it.

0:30 — The Portland Trail Blazers are taking the court, which apparently entails them walking up a few flights of stairs in an old stairwell with wires and cables hanging poking out. Which is quite a juxtaposition to what we normally see these days, with refined architecture and squeaky-clean arenas.

0:36 — The Bulls huddle up and just in front of the camera, Cliff Levingston puts his left hand over Michael Jordan‘s right ear. At first I thought he was just messing with MJ, but Jordan didn’t recoil, which suggests this is something he’s used to. Suddenly, it all makes sense, when Levingston barks out, “WHAT TIME IS IT??” right in Jordan’s ear. So the hand over the ear move is purely practical. This may be one of Levingston’s most important contributions to the Bulls.

1:28 — The Blazers open the game red-hot, making their first seven field goal attempts and jumping out to a 21-15 lead. It is here we get our first glimpse of a younger and sleeker Phil Jackson, looking like a crooked politician in one of the Michael Keaton “Batman” movies.

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1:42 — The Bulls players circle up, and while several players are talking, there’s one Bull who isn’t saying a word: Michael Jordan. He comes out of that huddle focused, chomping his gum so hard. You just know bad things are about to happen to the Blazers.

1:47 — Oh man. Danny Ainge tries to get the ball to Clyde Drexler in the post. Jordan jumps the entry pass, steals it, dribbles directly up the court at Ainge, then he avoids Ainge while somehow making him sail into the scorer’s table. No wonder the Celtics won’t make any trades with the Hornets.

1:57 — This is just a peak ’90s moment. These may be the male leads from a Paul Reiser vehicle. (Also, one high five wasn’t enough. GIVE ME TWO HIGH FIVES FOR THAT FADEAWAY JUMPER. Also, my man in the background has an awesome mustache.)

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2:09 — Jordan is starting to cook. Meanwhile, Ainge is sooooooo mad. How mad? Mad enough to pound his fist! That’s really, really angry, you guys!

2:25 — OK, game reset: The second quarter is beginning, with the Bulls leading 33-30.

2:37 — Welp, Drexler isn’t giving in. He get a steal and goes coast to coast, and finishes with a nasty dunk in traffic. Drexler was always a much more spectacular dunker than I felt he got credit for. I kinda feel like this Bulls fan after seeing that dunk…

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3:05 — Jordan hits a couple of threes, which leads to a shot of Levingston on the bench waving a towel and screaming, “He. Is. Hot. Whooo!” If there were a spiritual successor to Levingston in this year’s Finals, I’d have to go with Draymond Green.

3:11 — Love this from Johnny Bach, Bulls assistant coach: “I said to Phil, ‘Phil, do you sees what’s happening?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ (laughs) We couldn’t believe it.”

3:36 — This is how you know MJ is cooking: Scottie Pippen misses a layup on the break and MJ’s right there for the follow-dunk. The Blazers are also leaving him room to shoot, which is probably a topic for a different day.

3:49 — Cover that man! I mean, look at this…

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On this play, Jerome Kersey‘s actually pulling up his shorts to prepare to defend MJ as Jordan is sticking a three in his face…

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4:08 — And then right after we hear that MJ has set an NBA Finals record with 5 three-pointers in a half, he goes and hits his sixth three pointer — again, wide open — and as he runs back down the court next to Cliff Robinson, Jordan throws up The Shrug.

shrug

Why is he shrugging? Because he can’t believe all of these shots are going in? Or because he can’t believe they aren’t really defending him, much less double-teaming him and making him give up the ball?

Anyway, it’s all downhill from there, mostly literally for the Blazers. Jordan had 35 in the first half, and finished with 39 in a 122-89 blowout win. The Bulls went on to win the series in Game 6, their second consecutive Finals win (and second of six).

Michael Jordan made a career out of giving us moments. But this one may have been his greatest moment of all of them.

President Obama weighs in on Bulls firing Tom Thibodeau

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — President Barack Obama not only plays basketball, but he’s an NBA fan, particularly of the Chicago Bulls, where he lived before becoming President. So it’s no big surprise that with today’s news of the Bulls firing of coach Tom Thibodeau, President Obama was asked about it on Twitter. And he was happy to give his two cents on the matter…

Throwback Thursday: Michael Jordan


VIDEO: Michael Jordan’s top 10 plays from 1995-96

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s Topic: Michael Jordan wins 1995-96 MVP

In the 1995-96 season, the Chicago Bulls were on a mission to prove they were still an elite team. Thanks to having Michael Jordan back in the fold for a full season they more than accomplished that feat, all while Jordan reclaimed his place as the game’s top player.

The Bulls were 10-1 out of the blocks in 1995-96, then 23-2, then suddenly, after an 18-game win streak, 41-3. They got to 60-8 and broke the Los Angeles Lakers’ record of 69 wins on April 16, 1996 with an 86-80 win in Milwaukee.

Although that team was stacked with talent — Ron Harper, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman and others — it was Jordan who powered the success. As such, he ran away with the MVP that season, amassing a record 96.5 percent of the possible first-place votes (109 of 113) from the media to win the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. It was his fourth overall MVP and for the season, Jordan averaged 30.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 4.3 apg, and 2.2 spg.

In honor of Jordan’s feat, we take a look back at the storied career of perhaps the NBA’s greatest player ever:


Gallery: Michael Jordan’s career

What are your favorite Jordan memories? Leave your comments below!

Odell Beckham was pretty excited about LeBron’s game-winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERLeBron James swished an improbable game-winner yesterday to give the Cavs a buzzer-beating Game 4 win over the Chicago Bulls. And while Bulls fans were understandably not that thrilled, other people were, including the New York football Giants rookie sensation Odell Beckham Jr., who took to Instagram to share his excitement.

Kanye West takes over Bulls/Cavs Game 4

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When it comes to getting their crowds fired up, NBA teams often take advantage of home-grown talent. At yesterday’s Bulls/Cavs Game 4, for example, the Bulls called on a native of the Chi City, Kanye West. Not only did Mr. West handle pregame intros, but he also hopped up and performed during a timeout to get the crowd amped…

Maybe Yeezy’s association with the Bulls explains this…

Benny the Bull rides a bull

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Chicago Bulls are in the middle of a terrific battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the last few games all coming down to last second shots. So of course, given the option, people would definitely want to attend a game or two. How far would they go to get free tickets? Would Bulls fans ride a bull?

Sure, at least, a mechanical bull. Benny the Bull brought in a mechanical Bull and had a few fans go at right there on the court…


VIDEO: Benny rides bull

Horry Scale: LeBron delivers in Chicago


VIDEO: LeBron nails Taco Bell Buzzer Beater

It was reminiscent of the finish to Game 2 of the 2009 conference finals. The Cavs were in a desperate situation, in danger of facing a two-game deficit.

That game was in Cleveland, the Cavs were down two points, and there was 1.0 seconds on the clock. But the results, the shots were very similar.

LeBron James hit his third game-winning buzzer beater in the playoffs on Sunday, lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 86-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 4 of the conference semifinals.

The Cavs passed their first big test of the second LeBron era. They were down 2-1 in the series. They were down 11 points late in the third quarter. Kyrie Irving was dealing with a foot injury and James himself turned his ankle midway through the third.

But they came back with some big shots from J.R. Smith and strong defense in the final period. And James provided the finishing touches on Cleveland’s biggest win of the season.

DIFFICULTY

A little nudge from James knocked Jimmy Butler off-balance, and he wasn’t able to close fast enough. James’ momentum was taking him toward the Bulls’ bench, but the space Butler provided (and the lack of a second defender) allowed him to square his shoulders and keep his balance, with his toes on the 3-point line. Of the three buzzer beaters we’ve seen in the last three days, it was the easiest shot.

GAME SITUATION

After coming back from 11 down, the Cavs blew a five-point lead in less than 30 seconds, thanks in part to James’ eighth turnover of the afternoon, an offensive foul with 14.3 seconds left.

Still, if the shot misses, they have another chance to redeem themselves in overtime.

IMPORTANCE

The playoffs appear to be wide open, especially in the Eastern Conference. If the Cavs lose this game, they’re in a situation – down 3-1 – that few teams have come back from.

But the win gives them back home-court advantage. Since Jan. 19, they’re 23-2 in Cleveland, where they will play Game 5 and 7 (if necessary).

CELEBRATION

A clumsy mob that spilled onto the scorer’s table.

GRADE

It’s the playoffs. It’s two teams that have a good shot of reaching The Finals if they get through this series. It was a high-leverage game. Five Horrys.

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Jimmy Butler answers your questions

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Bulls guard Jimmy Butler has had a breakout season, being named a player of the month and making the All-Star team. But he’s still relatively unknown, at least to many NBA fans. Did you, for instance, know that Jimmy Butler loves the music of Taylor Swift? Or that he enjoys watching the television show “Pretty Little Liars”? That and much more in this fun video from the Bulls…


VIDEO: About Jimmy Butler

Benny the Bull wears a GoPro camera

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Being an NBA mascot is like belonging to an elite fraternity, where you and a few dozen furry friends are responsible for the happiness and joy of tens of thousands of fans. But what is it like inside the costume? Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull wore a GoPro camera recently and filmed what it’s like inside the costume for a night. The coolest part might be how many people smile at you. Also, how easy it seems to be to scare people.


VIDEO: Benny GoPro