May 17, 1993 | Bulls 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 101
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Comcast SportsNet will show the seventh of 15 Chicago Bulls classic games on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Bulls broadcasters Neil Funk and Stacey King, along with Bulls.com writer Sam Smith, will provide pregame, postgame, and between quarters commentary on each of the games.
Sam Smith will also provide commentary here on Bulls.com about each of the games. Tuesday’s game basically sticks a fork in that delicious Cavs team that looked so inviting in the late 1980’s. It would be the Bulls again, and, fatefully, Michael Jordan with somewhat the anticlimactic shot, the Bulls ahead 3-0 in the conference semifinals and Jordan closing out the Cavs with another buzzer game winner like in 1989.
Jordan would admit “Shot I” was a bit tougher, as it meant potential elimination. This was really just rubbing it in.
The Cavs, coming off a 54-win season, wouldn’t win at least 50 games again for 13 years until LeBron James brought them back. It would be the fourth time in six seasons the Bulls eliminated the Cavs in the playoffs, and unlike the Bulls and Pistons, the Cavs never could get beyond the Bulls.
It was a tough season for the Bulls in going for the three-peat in failing to have the best record in the Eastern Conference, though Jordan would tie Wilt Chamberlain with a seventh consecutive scoring title. But the Bulls began to put it together in the playoffs with this game giving them a 7-0 start in the first two rounds to head into the brutal series with the conference leading Knicks in which the Bulls would lose the first two games in New York.
>> Box score | Comcast SportsNet airing "Chicago Bulls Classics"
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>> Jordan's shrug said it all as Bulls torched Blazers
>> First NBA championship for Jordan and the Bulls
>> Jordan hits "The Shot" to close out the Cavs
>> MJ scores 27 in 4th, hits game-winner vs. Bucks
>> Jordan sets old scoring mark with 58 to beat New Jersey
May 17, 1993 | Game 4 | Eastern Conference Semifinals
Bulls 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 101
This was a changed Cavs team, and though effective in the regular season, no longer built as well to challenge the Bulls. Gerald Wilkins, who proclaimed himself the so-called Jordan stopper, was playing Jordan, leaving Craig Ehlo on Scottie Pippen, not a great matchup for the Cavs. B.J. Armstrong was now starting for John Paxson and was the league’s three point shooting leader that season, though Paxson would put the finishing touches on the third championship in Phoenix in about a month with his own three for the three-peat.
(Jonathan Daniel/NBAE/Getty Images)
But Armstrong’s young legs would be a bother to the Cavs’ engine, Mark Price, who would be held to just six points with Terrell Brandon taking much of the fourth quarter minutes.
Jordan, as usual, heard the boos in Cleveland, though so did Stacey King as a new villain after his contretemps with Danny Ferry the previous season after the Cavs had gone after Jordan. Bill Cartwright would have a big effort with seven of 11 shooting to bring Brad Daugherty away from the rim, though when I ran into Cartwright recently and mentioned the game, he shrugged and said he never can remember any of the games he played in. But we can with those great Bulls games in that era.
The Cavs came out feisty and led 27-23 after one quarter as Jordan was off early. He would have just eight points in the first half. The Cavs would go up nine in the second quarter and lead 52-48 at halftime.
The Bulls’ usually remarkable defense wasn’t great, a bit on the soft side with hands by their sides as the Cavs began to stretch out their lead in the third quarter behind Daugherty, who would have 25, and Wilkins finishing with 22, though not being very satisfied in the end.
It looked in the fourth quarter as if the Cavs would extend the series taking an 87-77 lead early with Brandon’s quickness bothering the Bulls. But Horace Grant with 17 and 10 and a third Bulls with Jordan and Pippen on the all-defensive team that season continued to bang the boards and Jordan began to heat up, hitting a long three as the shot clock expired and with five minutes left it was a game, as you knew it would be, with the Bulls getting within a pair.
Pippen was taking much of the responsibility again delivering the ball and setting up the offense and was active bothering the Cavs with four steals, and the Cavs and their fans began to scream about theft after a few foul calls went the Bulls way and the Bulls went ahead 94-92.
With the score tied at 101, Jordan missed. But Ehlo missed as well and then it was Jordan’s time again. The Bulls got the ball with 18.5 seconds to go and Jordan took it with a bit under 10. Wilkins would make a play, getting the ball away from Jordan. But Jordan would recover, get to the right elbow, the double again late, this time from “Hot Rod” Williams, and, well, he did it again!