Given the team histories and the New York Knicks visit to Chicago tonight, we feel it’s appropriate for a Knicks-Bulls themed Throwback Thursday. There’s a lot to choose from, so read on to see which moment we picked.
Michael Jordan had a knack for absolutely owning the Knicks in the playoffs, which is why what became to be known as his “first retirement” warmed the hearts of New Yorkers just prior to the 1993-94 season. If any team was going to take the Chicago Bulls out in the playoffs, it was the Knicks, but surely a title run would be easier with their main competitors out of the picture. New York proved this to be true by appearing in the NBA Finals that very same season, and taking Chicago out on the way. The Knicks fell just short of their first championship in over 20 years, but there was just as much opportunity at bringing home the Larry O’Brien trophy in 1995.
Meanwhile, Jordan was out shagging fly balls, until March 18th, 1995.
In the blink of an eye, the feeling of hopelessness in Jordan’s NBA was back again. At the very least the Knicks had a pretty decent chance of beating the Bulls in the regular season while MJ was knocking of the rust just five games into his comeback, right? Jordan wouldn’t be the same with a 45 on his jersey as he was wearing 23, would he?
Jordan was just not going to be stopped that night, lighting up one of the best defenses in the league for 55 points. Even bigger than the point total was the fact that the Bulls were back on top of the basketball world. It was moments like this that made Michael the greatest. He saw the chance of playing at Madison Square Garden against the team he despised the most as an opportunity to show the world that he was as good as ever and couldn’t be stopped. In retrospect, it was Jordan’s springboard to his second three-peat.
The worst part was that MJ scored all of those points and still wound up with a game winning assist. There was just no way to stop him. He forced Ewing’s help by beating Starks to the paint, and simply dished it past an overprotective Ewing, who was banking on another patented Jordan game-winning jumper.
The double-nickel game easily trumps moments at The Garden of recent memory, like Steph Curry’s 54 and Kobe Bryant’s 61. Everyone should have known better than to doubt Jordan, but the 55 points was rather unexpected from a player who Knicks fans thought traded three-pointers for three strikes for good.