Game 1 of this series was a pretty hard fought affair considering we all know this series ends in a convincing three-game sweep.
Game 2 was no such thing. This was an old fashioned beatdown, one that cemented the sheer dominance and inevitability of this Bulls’ team for those who may have forgotten (or never truly knew).
Michael and Scottie combined for 53 points, with Pippen shooting 10-for-14 and notching eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block (my word, he is magnificent). Jordan continued to abuse Rex Chapman, who Pat Riley kept tossing into Jordan’s jaws for some inexplicable reason.
The Heat scored 19, 19, 19 and 18 points in each quarter, respectively. Alonzo Mourning, who averaged 23.2 points, 10.4 boards and 2.7 blocks per game in the ‘95-96 regular season, had 14 points on 3-for-8 and was starting scraps with Ron Harper down 25 at halftime. The guys in white were a sea of arms and bodies careening into loose balls, deflecting passes and swatting shots at every turn. We even got a Dennis Rodman ejection (and, of course, jersey toss), to which the UC erupted.
Bulls are up 32 and Scottie Pippen just punched the air in frustration over a blown defensive coverage. Pretty much says it all about this team. #BullsRewind— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 21, 2020
Speaking of Harper, can we show him some love for a second? He was getting a lot of it on Twitter tonight, and the more I watch, the more deserved it is. Here’s a guy that was a walking 19-5-5 with two steals and a block per game for the first eight seasons of his career, then strolled into Chicago, sacrificed a lot of those numbers and was the quintessential glue on three title teams. People sleep.
Media access in the 1990s hit different
There are a lot of stark playstyle contrasts between ‘90s basketball and the modern game, but one of the more jarring differences, to me, has been some anecdotal examples of media access and interaction.
First, there was our K.C. Johnson informing all of us that Jordan would literally spark conversations with reporters in their baseline, courtside seats from the Bulls’ bench during the team’s dynasty. Unreal.
Then, Ahmad Rashad’s early-game sideline report detailed Bulls players airing age-old frustrations with Pat Riley for apparently ordering players to cheap-shot opponents (Kurt Thomas was reportedly a mercenary to get under Rodman’s skin). Can you imagine an entire team having public beef with a coach like that in 2020?
And the coup de gras: At halftime, NBC got a walk-on interview with… The Bulls team doctor to discuss Jordan appearing to sustain a back injury in the first half. It was a succinct, three-question back-and-forth in which the doctor got, literally, all of America up to speed on the tweak and assured everyone that Jordan would return. Jordan and Pippen went on to play deep into the 31-point victory.
These days, we have the NBA.com injury portal. Pros and cons to both, I suppose?
Hey, it’s that guy!
What up, Stacey!
With the game out of reach early, Stacey King played 12 minutes in the second half. He scored exactly one (1) point, his only score of the series.
Tune in Sunday at 7 p.m. CT for Game 3. No spoilers, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.