100 days of hoops, hardwood

100 Days of Hoops Day 63

On Day 63 we remember one of the greatest shootouts in NBA history. After missing most of the season with a broken foot, Michael Jordan rushed back for the playoffs in his second season where his Chicago Bulls faced Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in the first round. The 1985-86 Celtics were arguably the greatest of the Celtics team of the era; featuring league MVP, Larry Bird, all-stars Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, and the surprisingly healthy Bill Walton who took home the Sixth Man of the Year Award that season.

The Bulls came into the game trailing one game to none in the series. The date was April 20th. The place, the Boston Garden. Michael Jordan would go on to set the record for points scored by a single player in a playoff game at just 23-years-old, dropping 63 points in a contest that would take two overtimes.

Bird and the Celtics would have the last laugh however, as the Celtics would go on to win the double-overtime game 135-131. In fact, it was always the Celtics who had the last laugh.

After the game Larry Bird famously said, “I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan. He is the most awesome player in the NBA. Today in Boston Garden, on national TV, in the playoffs, he put on one of the greatest shows of all time. I couldn’t believe anybody could do that against the Boston Celtics.”

The Celtics swept Jordan and the Bulls in the first round of  both the 1986 and 1987 NBA Playoffs. In all fairness, these Bulls teams did not yet feature Scottie Pippen or Horace Grant. Be that as it may, Michael Jordan never once beat Larry Bird in the playoffs.

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