One thing that the majority of NBA experts and viewers agree with is that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Not only he broke numerous records, destroyed opponents, but took the NBA to a completely different level. Known for his mentality, domination, charisma, leadership, clutch shots, Michael was a role model for other players and remains an epitome of basketball players till this time.
Jordan was a phenomenal scorer! He led the NBA in scoring ten times and had 31 games where surpassed 50 points. Had it not been 2 seasons when he retired from the NBA, Jordan could have easily won more titles and scored more points. Let’s have a look at 5 of his games where Michael scored the most points. In these 5 matches, Jordan had 60 or more points, one of which took place against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.
Most points scored by Michael Jordan in a single game? The most points scored by Michael Jordan was 69 against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28 March 1990.
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Jordan vs Cleveland – March 28, 1990, 69 points
A season earlier, Jordan scored 54 points against the opponent and a year earlier buried Cleveland’s last playoff hopes. It would seem ideal conditions for irreconcilable rivalry. But even the headlines, which usually turn yellow before important matches, did not promise anything good. The next night, there were no papers to find out what Jordan had done. Bulls defender Stacey King will later say, “I’ll never forget a match in which I scored 70 points with Jordan.”
The sign for the Chicago-Cleveland derby after this game became quite faded, and the rivalry was scrapped. Jordan’s achievements do not cancel this fact – he has set a personal record, scoring 69 points. For the entire match, Michael scored only 2 3-point shots, and his shooting manner has become something, very hard to deal with. It turned into an unstoppable weapon.
Jordan vs Magic – January 16, 1993, 64 points
This was a game where 2 legendary players came face to face with each other – Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. This game took place in the regular season. Jordan forced the overtime, dominated the opponent, but it was not enough to win the match. Eventually, Shaq’s magic was stronger and the Magic won the encounter 128-124. This is widely considered to be one of his greatest performances of all time, even though he lost a match.
We should remember that in the 1995 playoffs, the Magic actually beat the Bulls in the playoffs in 6 games and it motivated Jordan in the next years, which eventually resulted in 3 consecutive championships!
Jordan vs Celtics – April 20, 1986, 63 points
Many overestimate this match, not considering the first game in which Jordan scored 49 points, working as a machine gun. But the record is easier to remember because of 63 points and the words of Larry Bird (“God played against us in Jordan’s guise”) will be the first steps in the way of forming a great player.
The match includes a backstory. In the third game of the season, Jordan injured his leg and took part in only 18 matches. Chicago didn’t want to take any chances, and it was decided that the leader of the team would recover before the next championship. Jordan had other plans, and he and his team began to prepare for the playoffs, during which the Bulls did not expect anything good. The Celtics were seeded first and were considered the main contenders for the championship, the Bulls took eighth place. It may have been the only series in Jordan’s life where he couldn’t influence the result (Boston won 3-0); He set a playoff record, scored more than 50 points for the first time in his career, and exhausted all the nerves of the Celtics veterans, conceding defeat after only two overtimes (135:131). Even Bulls players dropped their hands during the game. “Michael did so much on the court and so right that I wanted to stop and just watch him,” John Paxson recalled.
Jordan vs Hawks – April 16, 1987, 61 points
In 1987 Michael Jordan put up a show against the Atlanta Hawks and Dominique Wilkins, scoring 61 points, but losing 114-117. Like in the majority of his games, Jordan was the best player from the Bulls, converting 22 shots out of 38, adding 10 rebounds and 4 steals. In 1987 Jordan still was not a destructive force and it took some time for the Bulls to reach the NBA Finals. He was just starting and showing everyone his magnificent skills. Even the Bulls lost the game and Wilkins also had a great performance, the focus was still on Michael after the game.
Jordan vs Pistons – March 4, 1987, 61 points
The Bulls and Pistons formed a formidable rivalry in the NBA back in the 90s. To stop Jordan from scoring, the Pistons were using different tactics, but even such tactics and tricks did not hinder Michael from scoring 61 points, winning the game 125-120 for his side. The Detroit Pistons approached physical basketball and if we remember players from that Detroit Pistons (Isiah Thomas is probably enough), it was not a surprising fact. Restraining Jordan in any way possible was their main mission but… the mission was failed.
Michael Jordan had a lot of memorable moments during his career. Even in those matches, where he did not score the most points, Jordan was always a visible figure, dictating the tempo of a game and making tremendous shots. He always took things personally and that’s why he became so successful and an icon of the NBA. Athletes like him are born once in a blue moon and basketball should be proud to have one of them in its history!