Scottie Pippen’s Greatest Moments: Pippen fired in 47 points, earned praise from Jackson
As Chicago prepared to retire Scottie Pippen’s number 33, Bulls.com took a look at the legendary player’s greatest moments.
February 18, 1997
United Center | Box Score
In a mighty display of offense, Pippen posted a career-high 47 points as the Bulls took a high-powered win, 134-123, over the Denver Nuggets at the United Center.
With the victory, the Bulls improved to 46-6 on the season, although the capacity crowd of 23,874 left slightly disappointed.
“The fans wanted to him to hit 50 and they were a little upset when Phil took him out,” Bulls guard Steve Kerr said after Pippen exited the game with about a minute left.
In a year in which scoring was generally down across the league, Denver was the exception, setting the table for an offensive explosion on Chicago’s west side.
Pippen started relatively slowly, recording 16 first half points and helping the Bulls to a 66-54 lead at the intermission.
Things heated up in the third, as Pippen caught fire, tallying 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
“Everything just started to flow my way,” he said. “I was just cutting and being in the right place at the right time. That was pretty much what happened. There weren’t any spectacular shots that I was consistently knocking down. Guys were just dropping the ball down to me.”
The Bulls entered the final frame with a comfortable 101-74 lead and held off the Nuggets for the eleven-point win, their 17th straight at home.
“When you get some easy baskets, the basket definitely looks like it’s much larger,” Pippen explained, who added five boards, four assists and a pair of steals in the game. “It builds your confidence.”
Following the game, Bulls Head Coach Phil Jackson found it appropriate to applaud Pippen’s endurance. After all, the veteran forward had played in 95 games the season before, competed in the summer’s Olympic Games, and participated in the NBA’s annual All-Star game.
“I’ve always been amazed at Scottie’s resiliency and stamina,” he said, adding that he typically gave Pippen more minutes than he did Michael Jordan. “Here’s a guy that never appears to be tired and always seems to have the ability to bounce back.
Pippen’s effort marked the firth time he has scored 40 or more in his 10-year career.
Adam Fluck contributed to this report.