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Basketball Classics: the 91 NBA Final and The Incoming Jordan Era

   Basketball Classics: the 91 NBA Final and The Incoming Jordan Era

January 20, 2019

magic and jordan

The basketball classic that was the NBA Final in 1991 was a huge moment for the future of the NBA over the coming decade. The current best player in the league learnt how to win on basketball's hugest stage. The Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan went on to win 6 titles, including the 1991 Final. By contrast, the LA Lakers would not taste glory again until the Koby and Shaquille O’Neil era. This final was a defining changing of the guard moment.

In the lead up to the final, the Bulls finally swept aside their long time nemesis the Detroit Pistons. The Chicago Bulls had made solid progress towards ending the Pistons’ dynasty over them. Each previous time they had met in the play off, the Bulls had come closer and closer to meeting them. Finally in the 1991 series, the Bulls beat their long standing rivals. One notable aspect of this match is that the Pistons walked off the Court with 8 seconds left on the clock, in a last attempt of defiance. While the Chicago Bulls beating their most prolific rivals in the Cup Final, the NBA Finals were a huge passing of the torch on a national scale. The LA Lakers were coming to the end of their sparkling empire. Magic Johnson and James Worthy were both coming to the conclusion of their incredible eras. The grip that the Lakers held in this specific division was terminated this year as Portland finished first.

Until the 2013 Heat vs Spurs NBA Final, this was the last final to have players on both teams, that have won the NBA most valuable player award multiple times. This was the final that had Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, who were the present and the future respectively, going and battling head to head.

Magic came into his own in the 3rd quarter to give the LA Lakers space, by hitting consecutive 3’s. Chicago fought back in the 4th quarter, only to be ended at the hands of Sam Perkins as his super shot late 3 pointer. The Lakers took game 1 to secure home court advantage. The Bulls then woke up and played to their super ability to restate themselves in game 2. There was no 3rd quarter run for LA in this game, as the bulls hit the high notes and scored 38 points. Chicago made some clever defensive alterations. Pippin was now tasked with guarding Magic and this was extremely successful. A good sign that the Chicago Bulls were not just about Michael Jordan, came in the third quarter, as the key run took place with Jordan sitting on the bench.

The scene for the Lakers to gain control from the tidal wide of momentum facing them, took place in game 3, as the next 3 games were being played with their home court advantage. The continuing theme of 3rd quarter importance in these finals manifested itself again, as the LA Lakers strangled the Bulls and held them to 18 points. The key difference in this match is that the 4th quarter won the tie for the Bulls and set them up to win the series. Wildly fluctuating basketball betting odds had fans on the edge of the seat dreaming about what was to come.  A powerful 20-7 run by the Bulls allowed them to tie and in due course sent the game into overtime. Michael Jordan came into his own and put his size 13 stamp on the game and this series. The Chicago Bulls won that game; they didn’t lose another one and took the 1991 NBA title in five games.The Jordan era was fully realised and he went on to win 5 more titles.

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