May 08, 1989 By Sam Smith, Chicago Tribune.
Just Incredible, Michael
RICHFIELD, OHIO — There were more famous shots, ones that started wars and revolutions. The one Sunday by Michael Jordan merely ended a game. But, oh, what a game ! ; It will linger in the memory longer than the 101-100 final score that sent the Bulls into a best-of-seven second-round playoff series against the Knicks, starting Tuesday in New York. ; The Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers exchanged leads nine times in the last three minutes of a game that couldn`t have been approved by the American Heart Association. It was decided when Jordan hit a pulse-pounding, I-don`t-believe-it 15-foot jumper from just outside the foul line at the final buzzer. ; Jordan`s winner, giving him 44 points, came three seconds after Cleveland had gone up by one. ;
“That is probably the biggest shot I`ve hit in the NBA, mainly because I put my credibility on the line,“ said Jordan, who had predicted a Bulls advance in four games and then failed on two last-minute chances to do just that Friday night. ; “I thought we could beat this team, but when we lost Friday after I missed that free throw and last shot, it was the lowest I`ve ever felt in basketball. Like when I was cut from my high school team. I was disappointed in myself, and there were tears in my eyes.“ ; But Sunday, after 57 regular season victories and the home-court edge in this best-of-five series, it was the young Cavaliers who were crying. ; “I just can`t believe he made that shot,“ said center Brad Daugherty, shaking his head in the deathly quiet Cleveland locker room. “We did everything right. I just can`t believe it.“ ; Jordan had hit a 12-foot jumper from the right side to give the Bulls a 99-98 lead. Six seconds remained, and the Cavaliers ran a perfect inbounds play. ; Craig Ehlo, who led the Cavs with 24 points, threw the ball in, ran Craig Hodges into a Larry Nance screen and sank an easy two-handed layup with three seconds left. ; Then came “The Shot,“ as it will no doubt come to be known in Bulls lore. ; “Even before Doug (Collins) called the play, Michael came up to me and said, `Don`t worry,` “ Hodges related. “He said he was going to hit the shot. So I said, `Go ahead and do it.` “ ; Brad Sellers threw the ball in from midcourt. Jordan, stationed low near the basket, popped out toward the free-throw line, with Ehlo trying to guard him and Nance trying to block his way. ; “He`s exceptionally quick,“ said Ehlo, “and before I knew it, he was at the foul line.“ ; Jordan was supposed to get a back screen from Bill Cartwright and then jump out, but he couldn`t totally shake Ehlo. The second option was a Scottie Pippen pick, with Hodges going into the corner. ; “I`m glad Brad stuck with me,“ said Jordan. ; “We had Michael pop up and slide into the crease where Brad could get him the ball and he could shoot or take it to the hoop,“ said Collins. ; But Jordan, who missed 4 of 13 free throws Sunday after missing 5 of 27 Friday, two in the last minute, wasn`t confident in his foul shooting. “I didn`t want to drive and put it all on going to the line,“ he said. “I wanted to take the shot.“ ; Ehlo tried to swipe the ball. “It allowed me a step when he went for the ball,“ said Jordan, “so I came across, went up, hung and then shot.“ ;
That`s why they call him Air Jordan. Not “Airogance Jordan,“ as one sign read in the hostile crowd of 20,273. The locals were upset about Jordan`s Bulls-in-four prediction. ; “They were yelling for me to go home and practice my free-throw shooting,“ he said. ; After his game-ending shot, Jordan thrust his fist mightily at the crowd in a somewhat uncharacteristic gesture and yelled, “Go home!“ ; “I shouldn`t have done that,“ he said, “but they were telling me to set my tee times and everything. It`s a lot of vindication.“ ; “I don`t see how he stayed in the air that long,“ marveled Daugherty. ; “It`s the most outstanding shot I`ve ever seen.“ ; It climaxed 2 1/2 hours of thrilling, odds-defying action. Against a team that was 37-4 at home, had the league`s second-best record and had beaten them six straight times during the regular season, the Bulls came in here and won twice. ; “Before the game,“ said Collins, “I wrote on the board that Atlanta had won six from the Bucks, and Milwaukee went in there and beat them. It was something for us to think about.“ ; Yet it remained a most unlikely feat. Cartwright and Horace Grant were in foul trouble and sat out much of the third quarter. ; The Cavs took an 8-point lead early in the fourth and seemed in control. ; “When you go up eight points on a team at home, you`ve got to bury them,“ said Ehlo, who hit three of his four three-pointers in the last period. ; But these Bulls were moving too fast to get any dirt thrown over them. With a rested Grant getting three tip-ins, Jordan wheeling and driving and Cartwright adding a bruising drive over Daugherty, the Bulls outscored the Cavs 15-3 in the next 4:30 to take an 87-82 lead. ; The Cavs then scored six straight to regain the lead, and the game swayed back and forth with the heat of a sequence from “Dirty Dancing“ . . . until Jordan simply did Cleveland dirty.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “1989.05.07 Bulls at Cavs – EFR – Game 5”