Go To:
  • ALT+A Toggle Accessibility Menu
  • ALT+H Home
  • ALT+1 Navigation
  • ALT+2 Main Content
  • ALT+3 Footer

Chicago Bulls History

hicago Bulls History Chicago's Bulls: The Team That Mike Built -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1966-67: Bulls "Red" Hot At Start Of Inaugural Season -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1967-68: Chicago Struggles Without Its "Guy" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1968-72: Bulls Turn Corner Because Of Love -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1972-74: A Player With No Fear: Bulls Acquire Van Lier -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1974-76: Stifling Defense Helps Chicago Win Division -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1976-81: Artis Is Awesome, But Bulls Aren't -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1981-84: A Three-Year Struggle -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-87: "Air Jordan" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987-89: Jordan Gets A Supporting Cast -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989-90: Jackson Replaces Collins As Head Coach -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990-91: No Bull! Chicago Cops Championship -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1991-92: Two Rings Are Better Than One -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1992-93: "Three-Peat" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1993: Jordan Announces His Retirement -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1993-94: There Is Life Without Jordan -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1994-95: "His Airness" Returns -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1995-96: Greatest Ever? Bulls win 72 Games, Title -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1996-97: Five Times A Champion -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1997-98: Repeat Three-peat -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1998-99: The Rebuilding Begins -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NBA Titles: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998 Retired Uniform Numbers: (4) Jerry Sloan (10) Bob Love (23) Michael Jordan Franchise History: Chicago Bulls 1966- Season W L % 1998-99 13 37 .260 1997-98 62 20 .756 1996-97 69 13 .841 1995-96 72 10 .878 1994-95 47 35 .573 1993-94 55 27 .671 1992-93 57 25 .695 1991-92 67 15 .817 1990-91 61 21 .744 1989-90 55 27 .671 1988-89 47 35 .573 1987-88 50 32 .610 1986-87 40 42 .488 1985-86 30 52 .366 1984-85 38 44 .463 1983-84 27 55 .329 1982-83 28 54 .341 1981-82 34 48 .415 1980-81 45 37 .549 1979-80 30 52 .366 1978-79 31 51 .378 1977-78 40 42 .488 1976-77 44 38 .537 1975-76 24 58 .293 1974-75 47 35 .573 1973-74 54 28 .659 1972-73 51 31 .622 1971-72 57 25 .695 1970-71 51 31 .622 1969-70 39 43 .476 1968-69 33 49 .402 1967-68 29 53 .354 1966-67 33 48 .407 Chicago's Bulls: The Team That Mike Built The Chicago Bulls joined the NBA for the 1966-67 season. The franchise struggled for the better part of a quarter century, occasionally putting excellent teams on the court, such as the tough units of the mid-1970s that featured Bob Love, Norm Van Lier, Jerry Sloan, and Tom Boerwinkle. More often, however, the Bulls worked hard for mediocre results. That all changed in the mid-1980s with the drafting of Michael Jordan, the dominant player of his era and possibly the greatest player of all time. Jordan won seven straight scoring titles with a combination of breathtaking slam dunks and a bag of thrilling shot-making tricks. He put up some of the biggest numbers in NBA history and wrote some of the most memorable chapters in the annals of the league. In the early 1990s the Bulls assembled a strong supporting cast for Jordan and won three consecutive NBA titles, becoming only the third franchise in history to string together a trio of crowns. After more than a year of "retirement" to try his hand at professional baseball, Jordan returned to lead the Bulls back to another title in 1996, one more in 1997 and a third in a row this past season, the Bulls' second Three-peat of the decade and their sixth NBA championship trophy. Prior to the inception of the Bulls organization, two pro teams had failed in Chicago. One squad, the Stags, had been a charter member of the 11-team Basketball Association of America, the predecessor of the NBA. The franchise folded after the 1949-50 campaign. The Packers debuted in 1961-62, but after two last-place finishes and a name change to the Zephyrs, the franchise moved to Baltimore and eventually became the Washington Bullets. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1966-67: Bulls "Red" Hot At Start Of Inaugural Season The brand-new Chicago Bulls franchise earned its first victory on October 15, 1966, with a 104-97 win over the St. Louis Hawks. The team's coach was Johnny "Red" Kerr, a former player with the Syracuse Nationals, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Baltimore Bullets. He is one of a select group of players to surpass the 10,000 mark in both rebounds and points, and he held the league record for consecutive games played with 844 until Randy Smith eclipsed his mark during the 1982-83 season. Chicago's starting lineup on opening night included Len Chappell, Bob Boozer, Don Kojis, Jerry Sloan, and Guy Rodgers. In the team's victorious debut against St. Louis, Rodgers poured in a game-high 37 points. Three days later the Bulls ran their record to 2-0 by defeating the San Francisco Warriors, 119-116. Then, behind 34 points and 18 assists from Rodgers, Chicago upped its winning streak to three games with a 134-124 triumph over the defending Western Division champion Los Angeles Lakers. Chicago finished with a 33-48 record, the best ever by an expansion team in its first year of play. The Bulls secured a playoff berth in the Western Division, but the Hawks eliminated them in the opening round. Kerr was named NBA Coach of the Year, and center Erwin Mueller made the NBA All-Rookie Team. Rodgers led the NBA in assists with 11.2 per game (including a club-record 24 against the New York Knicks on December 21) and also topped the team in scoring at 18.0 points per game. Rodgers and Sloan represented the new franchise in the 1967 NBA All-Star Game. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1967-68: Chicago Struggles Without Its "Guy" After that promising beginning the Bulls fell apart. During the 1967-68 season the club traded Guy Rodgers, the steadiest player on the squad, to the Cincinnati Royals for Flynn Robinson and two future draft choices. Chicago lost its first nine games, slumping to 1-15 before climbing back to respectability. The Bulls went 28-38 the rest of the way but still finished 29-53. Even that record was better than those of the new expansion teams in Seattle and San Diego, so the Bulls still snuck into the playoffs, where they were drubbed by the Lakers in the division semifinals. Bob Boozer, a 6-8 forward who had the most productive seasons of his 11-year career while playing for Chicago, led the team in scoring with 21.5 points per game, and Jim Washington topped the club in rebounding with 10.1 boards per contest. When Jerry Colangelo left the Bulls' front office to run the Phoenix Suns expansion franchise, he took Kerr along as coach. Kerr's replacement for the 1968-69 season was Dick Motta, who had won three Big Sky Conference championships at Weber State. Motta was an unlikely choice, but he proved to be a fortuitous one. In the early 1970s he molded Chicago into a tough, defensive-minded squad that was always ready to challenge the opposition, even if it couldn't match up in talent. Chicago owned the fourth overall pick in the 1968 NBA Draft and selected 7-foot, 265-pound center Tom Boerwinkle of Tennessee. Boerwinkle would spend his entire 10-year career with Chicago and wind up as the Bulls' all-time leading rebounder with 5,745 career boards. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1968-72: Bulls Turn Corner Because Of Love In 1968-69 the Bulls went 33-49, a record that helped explain the home crowd of just 891 fans who watched them beat Seattle, 120-105, on November 7. On November 23 they traded Flynn Robinson to Milwaukee for Bob Love, a smooth 6-8 scoring threat, and Bob Weiss, a scrappy 6-2 guard. Chicago was accumulating the elements of a competitive club. Jerry Sloan, who was known primarily as a defensive stalwart, hit for a career-high 43 points against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 5. A 6-5 scrapper, Sloan made the NBA All-Defensive First Team at season's end. Boozer led the team in scoring at 21.7 points per game, and Boerwinkle led in rebounding with 11.1 boards per contest. In fact, the 1968-69 team would stand as the best rebounding squad in Bulls history, pulling down 4,550 boards on the season. The 1969-70 team finished 39-43 and was the highest-scoring Bulls outfit in history, putting up 114.9 points per game. On January 8 against Phoenix, Boerwinkle grabbed a franchise-high 37 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Suns, 152-123. Newcomer Chet Walker led the team in scoring for the season, averaging 21.5 points. Boerwinkle again paced the club in rebounding, beefing up his average to 12.5 boards per contest. Chicago advanced to the playoffs but lost to Atlanta, four games to one, in the Western Division Semifinals. The Bulls finally began to fire on all cylinders in 1970-71, putting together a 51-31 record, second to Milwaukee in the newly formed Midwest Division and third best in the league. They started modestly, hovering just above .500 going into December, then ran off a six-game winning streak. Starting in late January, the Bulls went on a 19-5 tear that put them more than 20 games above .500. They had developed into a ruggedly physical club, led by Boerwinkle, who pulled down 33 rebounds in a March 9 win over Milwaukee. That victory snapped the Bucks' 20-game winning streak. Chet Walker led the league at the foul line with an .859 free throw percentage. Bob Love set a new club record for points with 2,043, finishing sixth in the NBA scoring race with a 25.2 average. (Love would hold most of the Bulls' scoring records until Michael Jordan came along.) Boerwinkle set team rebounding marks by pulling down 1,133 boards and averaging 13.8 per game. In the 1971 NBA Playoffs, Chicago stretched the Los Angeles Lakers to the limit in the division semifinals before losing in seven games. For catching the NBA by surprise, Dick Motta was named the league's Coach of the Year. The Bulls continued to improve in 1971-72, muscling their way to a 57-25 record. Even that stellar mark trailed the Lakers, who won 33 straight while fashioning a 69-13 mark, and the Milwaukee Bucks, who claimed the Midwest Division title at 63-19. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1972-74: A Player With No Fear: Bulls Acquire Van Lier In November the Bulls acquired 6-2 guard Norm Van Lier from Cincinnati for center Jim Fox. Van Lier brought a pugnacious attitude to the game and teamed with Sloan to form the toughest defensive guard tandem of the era. The squad had a seven-game winning streak in late November, then another of equal length in late December, and stood at 27-10 entering the new year. Another five-game string in January put the Bulls 21 games up in the win column. On February 6 against Cincinnati, Chet Walker hit for 56 points, another club record that would eventually fall to Michael Jordan. Walker is the only Bulls player besides Jordan ever to score 50 or more points in a game. Walker did it once; Jordan did it 32 times. Love represented Chicago in the 1972 NBA All-Star Game. The team continued to play solid ball and looked like a contender until Boerwinkle sustained a knee injury in the last week of the regular season. The Bulls were swept out of the playoffs by the Lakers, who went on to capture the NBA title. Clifford Ray, a 6-9 third-round draft pick from Oklahoma, was named to the All-Rookie Team at season's end. The Bulls slipped a bit in 1972-73 as Boerwinkle missed most of the year while his knee mended. Nonetheless, the team still had a fine season at 51-31. Love scored 49 points on successive nights-February 4 against Milwaukee and February 6 against the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Walker and Love made the All-Star Team. The Bulls were at 31-20 in early February, when they went on a 17-6 run that turned a good season into a great one. Chicago made the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. For the second time in three seasons the Bulls took the Lakers to Game 7 in their playoff confrontation. In the decisive contest the Bulls held a 90-83 lead with less than three minutes left, but they were outscored, 12-2, in the final minutes. In 1973-74 the team posted a 54-28 record and battled the Detroit Pistons for second place in the Midwest Division behind Milwaukee (59-23). The Bulls got out of the gate fast, with a 13-2 record in the early going, including 12 straight wins in October and November. They forged another seven-game streak in December, then really heated up in January, running off 10 straight victories. Chet Walker and Norm Van Lier played for the East All-Stars, and Van Lier and Jerry Sloan were selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. In the playoffs Detroit and Chicago locked horns in a physical seven-game conference semifinal series, and the Bulls prevailed in the deciding contest, 96-94. Depleted by their battle with the Pistons, Chicago then fell in four straight to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Western Conference Finals. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1974-76: Stifling Defense Helps Chicago Win Division After four straight 50-win seasons the Bulls fell to 47-35 in 1974-75 but still captured first place in the Midwest Division. The team got off to a shaky start as Van Lier and Love held out while they renegotiated their contracts. However, 6-11 center Nate Thurmond, acquired from Golden State in a trade for Clifford Ray, picked up the slack. Thurmond was in the final years of his Hall of Fame career, but in his Bulls debut (the season opener on October 18) he set a team record by blocking 12 shots against the Atlanta Hawks. The team's trademark during this era was a stifling defense. Chicago led the NBA in team defense in 1974-75, yielding just 95.0 points per game. Once Love and Van Lier had returned to action, the Bulls became hard to handle. They won 12 straight home games from January 24 to February 21 and were nearly invincible in the second half of the year. The positive momentum carried into the playoffs. Chicago topped the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in six games in the Western Conference Semifinals, then faced the Golden State Warriors and Rick Barry in the conference finals. The Bulls forged a two-games-to-one lead in the series, then pushed it to three-games-to-two. However, the Warriors claimed the final two contests and a ticket to the NBA Finals, in which Golden State won its first NBA championship since moving to the Bay Area. The Bulls' recent playoff success was good news for Chicago sports fans. The bad news was that Chet Walker retired, Jerry Sloan injured his knee, and Chicago's 1975-76 record fell to 24-58, the team's worst ever. Dick Motta left after the season and was replaced by Ed Badger. After a period of stability the franchise looked to be in disarray. During the next decade the Bulls would try seven different coaches, suffer a long run of unproductive draft choices, constantly reshuffle the roster, and, more often than not, watch the playoffs from the sidelines. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1976-81: Artis Is Awesome, But Bulls Aren't The immediate results were surprisingly good, however, as Badger helped the 1976-77 squad to a dramatic 20-game improvement and a 44-38 record. Prior to the season the Bulls had acquired 7-2 center Artis Gilmore in the ABA Dispersal Draft. After five great campaigns with the Kentucky Colonels in which he had averaged 22.0 points, Gilmore put in six sterling seasons with Chicago. He couldn't rescue the Bulls from a team-record losing streak, however, as they went winless in 13 games. That rough patch was forgotten by season's end, though, as the team won 20 of its final 24 contests, with Gilmore, rookie Scott May, and veteran Norm Van Lier leading the charge. The remarkable turnaround vaulted the Bulls into the playoffs, in which they became victims of Bill Walton and the championship-bound Portland Trail Blazers. The 1977-78 squad slipped to 40-42 and missed the playoffs despite posting a 28-23 record at the All-Star break. Gilmore represented Chicago at the 1978 NBA All-Star Game, the first of his four All-Star appearances with the Bulls. He led the club in scoring (22.9 ppg) and rebounding (13.1 rpg) and finished third in the league in field goal percentage (.559). The following season the Bulls slid to a 31-51 record under two different coaches, Larry Costello and Scotty Robertson. Costello took the reins from Badger to open the season, only to be replaced after a 20-36 start. Robertson didn't fare much better, compiling an 11-15 mark the rest of the way. For the second straight season Gilmore led the team in scoring (23.7 ppg) and rebounding (12.7 rpg), ranking among the league's top 10 in both categories. Standout guard Reggie Theus, the Bulls' first-round draft pick in 1978, began a 13-year career with a berth on the NBA All-Rookie Team. The 1979-80 Bulls team fell to 30-52 under new coach Jerry Sloan, who had served as a scout and assistant coach for the Bulls after his retirement in 1976. Sloan's coaching debut was soured by a leg injury that sidelined Gilmore for 34 games, snapping his string of 670 consecutive games played. Chicago moved to the Central Division in 1980-81 to make room in the Midwest for the expansion Dallas Mavericks. The new surroundings suited the Bulls well, as they bounced back to a 45-37 record and a second-place finish behind Milwaukee (60-22). Chicago hovered around .500 for most of the season but sizzled down the stretch, winning 13 of its final 15 games. In the playoffs for the first time since 1977, the Bulls eliminated the New York Knicks in a best-of-three first-round series, then were swept in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Boston Celtics, the eventual NBA champions. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1981-84: A Three-Year Struggle The 1981 NBA Draft yielded 6-9 forward Orlando Woolridge of Notre Dame, but after the promise of the previous season, 1981-82 was a disappointment. A December 2 game against Golden State was especially galling-the Bulls broke their own NBA record with a .705 field goal percentage but still lost to the Warriors, 120-119. The team went 19-32 under Sloan, and on February 17 he was replaced by Bulls General Manager Rod Thorn. Thorn guided the Bulls to a 15-15 finish and a 34-48 overall record. Gilmore led the team in scoring (18.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg) and led the NBA in field goal percentage at .652. After failing to make the playoffs the team revamped its roster. The Bulls' top selection in the 1982 draft was Quintin Dailey, a talented but troubled 6-3 guard from the University of San Francisco. Chicago also traded Artis Gilmore to the San Antonio Spurs for Dave Corzine and Mark Olberding. In 1982-83 Chicago reeled to a 28-54 record under new coach Paul Westhead, who had guided the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship in 1980. The Bulls struggled early and often, losing all seven games of their first extended road trip of the season. When a knee injury sidelined Woolridge for the final 25 contests of the year, the squad hit another seven-game slide. Reggie Theus (23.8 ppg) made the All-Star Team, and Dailey (15.1 ppg) was an All-Rookie Team selection. However, Westhead's stay in Chicago was brief; he was released from his contract at season's end. With Kevin Loughery as the team's new coach for 1983-84, the Bulls finished 27-55, the second-worst record in franchise history. In the middle of the year Chicago traded Theus to Kansas City for Steve Johnson and draft choices, creating the need for a shooting guard. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-87: "Air Jordan" The reward for the lean season was the third pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. The Houston Rockets, picking first, selected Hakeem Olajuwon, who would become one of the NBA's most dominant centers for more than a decade. The Portland Trail Blazers used the second selection for another center, Sam Bowie, whose career would be hampered by a series of injuries. The Bulls took College Player of the Year Michael Jordan, a 6-6 guard from North Carolina. Chicago improved to 38-44 in 1984-85 as Jordan stepped directly into the starting lineup and began rewriting the Bulls' record book. On his way to the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, Jordan set a team rookie record with 49 points against Detroit on February 12. He was dazzling throughout the year, earning a starting berth in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game. Many compared him to Julius Erving because of his high-flying style of play. Jordan finished the season averaging 28.2 points, third in the NBA behind New York's Bernard King (32.9 ppg) and Boston's Larry Bird (28.7). Jordan also led Chicago in rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (5.9 apg), and steals (196). Jordan helped the Bulls back to the playoffs for the first time since 1981, but it was a short visit. Chicago fell to Milwaukee, three games to one, in a first-round series. Coach Loughery was fired after the season. Stan Albeck was named the new head coach for 1985-86, but the season took a disastrous turn when Jordan sustained a broken foot in the Bulls' third game. Many thought he would miss the rest of the season, but Jordan returned triumphantly on March 15 (after missing 64 games) and helped Chicago to a playoff berth despite the club's 30-52 record. The Bulls faced Boston in the first round and lost in three straight, but the series was made memorable by Jordan's remarkable 63-point performance in Game 2 at Boston Garden. The outburst established a single-game playoff scoring record, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Celtics from winning, 135-131, in double overtime. Rugged rookie Charles Oakley joined the Bulls in 1985-86 and immediately established himself as a force on the boards, leading the team with 8.6 rebounds per game. He grabbed a club-record 18 offensive rebounds against Milwaukee on March 15. Chicago was still searching for the right coaching formula, and the Bulls fired Albeck after the season. With yet another new head coach, Doug Collins, in for 1986-87, the Bulls improved to 40-42. Chicago qualified for the playoffs for the third straight season but was again eliminated by Boston in the first round. The team's record was a secondary concern for most fans, who had their eyes riveted on team superstar Jordan. In late November and early December he went on a rampage, scoring 40 or more points in nine consecutive games. On February 26 he poured in 58 points against the New Jersey Nets, including a record 26 of 27 free throws. On March 4 he hit for 61 points against Detroit. Just a month later, on April 16, he matched that performance with 61 against Atlanta. That season Jordan became the first NBA player to reach 3,000 points in a season since Wilt Chamberlain did it in 1962-63. Jordan led the league in scoring at 37.1 points per game, his career high for a season. He set Bulls single-season records for points (3,041), field goals (1,098), free throws (833), and steals (236). His output was rewarded with the first in a series of All-NBA First Team selections. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987-89: Jordan Gets A Supporting Cast Jordan was indisputably great, and Oakley, who led the league in total rebounds (1,066), was outstanding. Still, the Bulls lacked a quality supporting cast. They took a major step toward alleviating that problem at the 1987 NBA Draft, when Vice President of Basketball Operations Jerry Krause acquired two players who would be vital cogs in Chicago's future championship machine. With two picks in the top 10, Krause selected Olden Polynice at No. 8 and Horace Grant at No. 10. He then traded Polynice and draft considerations to the Seattle SuperSonics for Scottie Pippen, whom the Sonics had grabbed with the fifth pick. With Grant and Pippen on board the Bulls began to show their stuff in 1987-88, forging a 50-32 record, their best mark since 1973-74. Chicago finished in a second-place tie with Atlanta in a competitive Central Division won by the surging Detroit Pistons. The Bulls made some noise in the playoffs, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in a five-game first-round series, but then fell to Detroit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Oakley and the Los Angeles Clippers' Michael Cage engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle for the league's rebounding title, which came down to the last day of the regular season. On April 22 against Cleveland, Oakley put the pressure on Cage by pulling down 35 rebounds, the second-highest total in Bulls history behind Tom Boerwinkle's 37 in 1970. Two days later, however, Cage grabbed 30 boards in a game against Seattle, just enough to edge Oakley by the slimmest of margins, 13.03 per game to 13.00. Cage played in 10 fewer games than Oakley, however, so Oakley led the NBA in total rebounds for the second consecutive year, with 1,066. Jordan led the league in scoring (35.0 ppg) and steals (3.16 per game). He won every major award, including Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA First Team, NBA All-Defensive First Team, All-Star Game MVP, and NBA Slam-Dunk Champion. Even with the success of the previous season, the team did not stand pat. The Bulls began the 1988-89 campaign with seven new faces on the roster. Jerry Krause made a blockbuster deal in June 1988 when he sent Oakley to the New York Knicks for 7-1 center Bill Cartwright. He also acquired three-point specialist Craig Hodges from Phoenix. While the players adjusted to one another the team's record slipped to 47-35, but the regular season was just a tune-up for the playoffs. For only the third time in franchise history the Bulls advanced to the conference finals, upending Cleveland in five games and New York in six along the way. Chicago took a two-games-to-one lead over Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Pistons roared back to win the next three and take the series. Jordan had led the league in scoring for a third straight year with 32.5 points per game. Return to top of page -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989-90: Jackson Replaces Collins As Head Coach Phil Jackson replaced Doug Collins as head coach for 1989-90. As a player Jackson had spent 13 years in the NBA, 11 of them with the Knicks. He had been named the Continental Basketball Association's Coach of the Year in 1985, the season after his Albany Patroons won the league championship; he then hooked on with the Bulls as an assistant coach. With Jackson at the helm Chicago began to mesh, cruising to a 55-27 record and a return to the Eastern Conference Finals. Beginning in November, the Bulls won a team-record 15 consecutive home games. The team also assembled an eight-game road winning streak, the longest in franchise history. Chicago was playing solid ball at midseason, and Jordan and Scottie Pippen made the All-Star Team. The Bulls sizzled after the break, closing out the season with a 27-8 flourish that included two nine-game winning streaks. On March 28 at Cleveland, Jordan rained in 69 points, his all-time high. For the season, he captured his fourth consecutive NBA scoring title (33.6 ppg) and his second NBA steals title (2.77 per game). Pippen, a versatile 6-7, 225-pound forward, proved to be a vital complement to Jordan. Not as flashy as "Air Jordan," he nevertheless had many of the same all-around skills: good ballhandling, solid scoring, and terrific defense. For all of their success, the Bulls couldn't keep up with the Detroit Pistons, who finished four games ahead of them in the Central Division. Chicago strolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs, eliminating Milwaukee and Philadelphia, but for the second straight year they couldn't bump Detroit from the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons won a low-scoring seven-game series en ro