Chapter 39: Game 5 and “The Shot”
Defying the odds
No one thought Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had a shot against the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers in first round of the 1989 NBA playoffs. But here they were, playing game 5 in Cleveland with a shot to win the series.
The series had been a back and forth affair. Chicago won game 1 mostly due to an injury to Cleveland’s Mark Price. Price came back in game 2 and helped the Cavs even the series. Another injury to Craig Ehlo hindered the Cavs in game 3, which allowed Chicago to take a 2-1 lead.
In a tightly contested game 4, Michael Jordan scored 50 points and gave the Bulls a chance to finish off the series late in the game. But Jordan missed 3 key free throws down the stretch which allowed the Cavs to send the game into overtime, where they defeated the Bulls and forced the deciding game 5.
Jordan was distraught over the loss and came to Cleveland determined to finish the series once and for all. But the Cavs would not give up so easily.
This video summarizes the deciding game 5
You can watch the entire game here.
The Jordan highlights of game 5 including his post game interview
“The Shot” was Michael Jordan’s first playoff game winning shot, and it is still remembered as one of the greatest moments in NBA playoff history.
Just like Michael Jordan’s 1982 game winning shot against Georgetown in the NCAA finals, “The Shot” was another turning point in Michael Jordan’s career. Many people point to this exact moment as the start of the Bulls dynasty of the 90’s.
But before any talk of NBA titles and dynasties, the 1989 Chicago Bulls still had a long playoff road ahead of them. Next up, the New York Knicks.
Next chapter: MJ rolls over the Knicks