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1992 NBA Finals

1992 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Portland Trail Blazers Rick Adelman 2
Dates June 3–14
MVP Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Television NBC (U.S.)
Announcers Marv Albert, Mike Fratello, and Magic Johnson
Game 1: Jake O'Donnell, Hue Hollins, Dick Bavetta
Game 2: Hugh Evans, Jess Kersey, Paul Mihalik
Game 3: Ed T. Rush, Mike Mathis, Bill Oakes
Game 4: Darell Garretson, Joe Crawford, Dick Bavetta
Game 5: Jake O'Donnell, Jess Kersey, Hue Hollins
Game 6: Hugh Evans, Ed T. Rush, Mike Mathis
Hall of Famers Trail Blazers:
Clyde Drexler (2004)
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Eastern Finals Bulls defeat Cavaliers, 4-2
Western Finals Trail Blazers defeat Jazz, 4-2

The 1992 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1991–92 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference took on the Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage, as they had the best record in the NBA.

The two teams appeared headed to face each other for most of the season and comparisons were made between Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan throughout the season.[1] A month earlier Sports Illustrated had even listed Drexler as Jordan's "No. 1 rival" on a cover the two appeared on together before the playoffs.[2] The media, hoping to recreate a Magic Johnson-Larry Bird type rivalry in Jordan-Drexler, compared the two throughout the pre-Finals hype.

The Bulls would go on to win the series in six games. Michael Jordan was named Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, to go with his sixth straight regular season scoring titles.

NBC Sports used commentator Ahmad Rashad (both teams' sidelines).


  • Background 1
    • Chicago Bulls 1.1
    • Portland Trail Blazers 1.2
    • How They Got Here 1.3
    • Regular season series 1.4
  • Starting Lineups 2
  • Team Rosters 3
  • Series Summary 4
    • Game 1 4.1
    • Game 2 4.2
    • Game 3 4.3
    • Game 4 4.4
    • Game 5 4.5
    • Game 6 4.6
  • Miscellaneous Information 5
  • Untouchabulls and "Jam" 6
  • Quotes from the Finals 7
  • Aftermath 8
  • Notes and references 9
  • External links 10


Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season, finishing with a 67-15 record. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with a 30.1/6.4/6.1 season. After easily sweeping the Miami Heat in the opening round, then surviving a physical seven game series over the emerging New York Knicks in the second round and then finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals, the Bulls advanced to defend their title.[3] With their co-tenants at Chicago Stadium, the Blackhawks, coached by Mike Keenan and captained by Dirk Graham, playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, it was an opportunity for both the Bulls and the Blackhawks to help the city of Chicago become the first city to have both NBA and NHL championships in the same year.[4]

Portland Trail Blazers

In the 1991–92 campaign, the Blazers repeated as Pacific Division champions. They steamrolled through the Western Conference playoffs en route to the epic showdown with the Bulls. The 1992 NBA Finals would cement the reputations of both Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler (placing the latter firmly in the former's shadow).

How They Got Here

Portland Trail Blazers (Western Conference Champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Champion)
# Western Conference
1 c-Portland Trail Blazers 57 25 .695
2 y-Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 2
3 x-Golden State Warriors 55 27 .671 2
4 x-Phoenix Suns 53 29 .646 4
5 x-San Antonio Spurs 47 35 .573 10
6 x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 10
7 x-Los Angeles Clippers 45 37 .549 12
8 x-Los Angeles Lakers 43 39 .524 14
9 Houston Rockets 42 40 .512 15
10 Sacramento Kings 29 53 .354 28
11 Denver Nuggets 24 58 .293 33
12 Dallas Mavericks 22 60 .268 35
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 15 67 .183 42
1st seed in the West, 2nd best league record
Regular season
# Eastern Conference
1 z-Chicago Bulls 67 15 .817
2 y-Boston Celtics 51 31 .622 16
3 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 57 25 .695 10
4 x-New York Knicks 51 31 .622 16
5 x-Detroit Pistons 48 34 .585 19
6 x-New Jersey Nets 40 42 .488 27
7 x-Indiana Pacers 40 42 .488 27
8 x-Miami Heat 38 44 .463 29
9 Atlanta Hawks 38 44 .463 29
10 Philadelphia 76ers 35 47 .427 32
11t Milwaukee Bucks 31 51 .378 36
11t Charlotte Hornets 31 51 .378 36
13 Washington Bullets 25 57 .305 42
14 Orlando Magic 21 61 .256 46
1st seed in the East, best league record
Defeated the (8) Los Angeles Lakers, 3–1 First Round Defeated the (8) Miami Heat, 3–0
Defeated the (4) Phoenix Suns, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) New York Knicks, 4–3
Defeated the (2) Utah Jazz, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (3) Cleveland Cavaliers, 4–2

Regular season series

The Chicago Bulls won both games in the regular season series:

Starting Lineups

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame ‡
Chicago Position Portland
John Paxson PG Terry Porter
Michael Jordan SG Clyde Drexler
Scottie Pippen SF Jerome Kersey
Horace Grant PF Buck Williams
Bill Cartwright C Kevin Duckworth

Team Rosters

Series Summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 3 Chicago Bulls 122-89 (1-0) Portland Trail Blazers
Game 2 Friday, June 5 Chicago Bulls 104-115 OT (1-1) Portland Trail Blazers
Game 3 Sunday, June 7 Portland Trail Blazers 84-94 (1-2) Chicago Bulls
Game 4 Wednesday, June 10 Portland Trail Blazers 93-88 (2-2) Chicago Bulls
Game 5 Friday, June 12 Portland Trail Blazers 106-119 (2-3) Chicago Bulls
Game 6 Sunday, June 14 Chicago Bulls 97-93 (4-2) Portland Trail Blazers

Game 1

June 3
Portland Trail Blazers 89, Chicago Bulls 122
Scoring by quarter: 30–33, 21–33, 17–38, 21–18
Pts: Drexler, Robinson 16 each
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 7
Asts: Clyde Drexler 7
Pts: Michael Jordan 39
Rebs: Pippen, Williams 9 each
Asts: Michael Jordan 11
Chicago leads the series, 1–0
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta

Michael Jordan dominated from the beginning, breaking the record for most points in a first half in the playoffs once held by Elgin Baylor (Michael had 35, Baylor had 33). This included six first-half threes (also a record). It was after the 6th 3 that Jordan turned towards the broadcast table and famously shrugged to indicate his surprise. Jordan's shrug became a highlight reel mainstay. This was needed as Portland made their first seven shots and ran to an eight-point lead in the first half, only to go down 29-28 to the Bulls at the end of the quarter. Portland was leading by 1 at 45-44, but then Chicago went on a 22-6 run to grab a 66-51 halftime lead and take control. The game was decided, and the Bulls earned a 122-89 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Game 2

June 5
Portland Trail Blazers 115, Chicago Bulls 104 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 31–23, 23–22, 16–32, 27–20, OT: 18–7
Pts: Clyde Drexler 26
Rebs: Buck Williams 14
Asts: Clyde Drexler 8
Pts: Michael Jordan 39
Rebs: Horace Grant 12
Asts: Jordan, Pippen 10 each
Series tied, 1–1
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 22 Paul Mihalik

With the Blackhawks playing for the Stanley Cup when the Bulls reached the Finals, Game 2 would have had conflict with Game 6 of the Blackhawks' series, as both teams would have played on the same day at Chicago Stadium.[5] However, the Blackhawks series ended in 4 games, so no rescheduling was needed.

Portland built an eight-point lead in the first quarter, and also built a nine-point lead in the half. However, as in Game 1, their lead started to disappear as the Bulls made their run - Jordan would score 14 points while Paxson would score 9 points in the third quarter, taking a seven-point lead in the third quarter. Chicago was looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series when Clyde Drexler fouled out with 4:36 remaining. With the Bulls up by 10, Jordan started to lose his poise, committing a foul and then a technical foul. This would help Portland build a 15-5 run, pushing the game into overtime after Jordan narrowly missed at the buzzer. In overtime, Portland dominated, especially Ainge, who scored six points with one minute remaining as the Blazers won 115-104 - the Bulls' worst home defeat in an NBA Finals game.

Game 3

June 7
Chicago Bulls 94, Portland Trail Blazers 84
Scoring by quarter: 34–26, 20–19, 16–15, 24–24
Pts: Michael Jordan 26
Rebs: Grant, Pippen 8 each
Asts: Scottie Pippen 7
Pts: Clyde Drexler 32
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 12
Asts: Terry Porter 4
Chicago leads the series, 2–1
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,888
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

Chicago had lost home court advantage, but dominated Portland, holding them to numerous franchise playoff lows: 84 points in a game, 39 second-half points and 28 field goals. Chicago would go on a 30-13 run in the first half to gain a 44-30 lead which Portland would cut to three with 7:09 left in the third before the Bulls went to another 12-3 run. Portland would then go on a field goal drought, not scoring from the 4:33 mark in the third quarter until the 9:36 mark of the fourth, a 6:57 stretch.

Game 4

June 10
Chicago Bulls 88, Portland Trail Blazers 93
Scoring by quarter: 26–18, 22–27, 21–21, 19–27
Pts: Michael Jordan 32
Rebs: Horace Grant 10
Asts: Jordan, Pippen 6 each
Pts: Drexler, Kersey 21 each
Rebs: Kevin Duckworth 11
Asts: Clyde Drexler 9
Series tied, 2–2
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,888
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 17 Joe Crawford
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta

Portland was still playing as they were during Game 3, not scoring for four minutes and finding themselves down 10-0. The Bulls would be up 22-9 before the Blazers climbed up and cut the deficit to three at half but found themselves down again in the third quarter. While Jordan scored 13 points in the third quarter, he would not score in the game's final 10:26. Portland would go on a 15-6 run to even the series at two games.

Game 5

June 12
Chicago Bulls 119, Portland Trail Blazers 106
Scoring by quarter: 39–26, 27–28, 28–24, 25–28
Pts: Michael Jordan 46
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 11
Asts: Scottie Pippen 9
Pts: Clyde Drexler 30
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 12
Asts: Terry Porter 8
Chicago leads the series, 3–2
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,888
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins

The Bulls jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back, answering every Blazers comeback attempt with a run of their own. Chicago opened the second half on a 16-8 run to give the Bulls a 20-point lead. Portland didn't pull back within single digits until less than four minutes were left in the game, and ended up losing 119-106.

Michael Jordan, who briefly sat with a bad ankle, finished with 46 points on 14-of-23 from the field and 16-of-19 from the line. Scottie Pippen fell just short of a triple-double, with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Clyde Drexler scored 30 points to lead six Portland players in double figures. However, Portland had 18 turnovers and shot just 43.8 percent from the field, compared to 54.8 percent for the Bulls.

Game 6

June 14
Portland Trail Blazers 93, Chicago Bulls 97
Scoring by quarter: 25–19, 25–25, 29–20, 14–33
Pts: Drexler, Kersey 24 each
Rebs: Jerome Kersey 9
Asts: Terry Porter 8
Pts: Michael Jordan 33
Rebs: Scott Williams 8
Asts: Horace Grant 5
Chicago wins the series, 4–2
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis

Portland started strongly as they held Michael Jordan scoreless for the game's first 11 minutes, and would take a 43-28 lead midway through the second quarter before Chicago went on a 16-7 run and cut the deficit to only six points. Portland also dominated the third quarter, building a 79-64 lead. Phil Jackson would go with four reserves and Scottie Pippen to start the fourth quarter, cutting Portland's lead to three after only three minutes. Jordan returned and had two steals and converted them to hoops to give Chicago a permanent lead. The Bulls' defense would hold Portland to only six points in the final four minutes, leading the Bulls to their second straight championship.

Miscellaneous Information

The Blackhawks, the Bulls' co-tenants, were swept in their finals by the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, losing the deciding game at Chicago Stadium.

Untouchabulls and "Jam"

Just months later, the 1991–92 NBA season documentary Untouchabulls was released. Narrated by Hal Douglas, it recaps the Bulls' championship season. "Jam" by Michael Jackson was used as the theme song for the documentary. That same year, Jordan was featured in Jackson's music video for "Jam".

Quotes from the Finals

Here's Jordan for three, yes!!! Did you see that look? Michael, indicating he can't believe it.
— -Marv Albert calling Michael Jordan's shrug following his NBA Finals record sixth first half three-pointer in Game 1.
Paxson spins away from Kersey, to Michael, three again. Oh! Michael good again! Oh my goodness!
— -Bulls radio announcer Neil Funk calling the same play.
This is the greatest performance, maybe ever, in a single half, playoffs or in the history of this league!
— -NBA radio announcer Joe McConnell commenting on Jordan's first-half performance in Game 1.


The Bulls won their third straight championship in the 1992–93 season, winning 57 games and defeating the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. In the offseason that preceded Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen played for the Dream Team that won the gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics, making them the first players to win NBA championship and Olympic gold medal in the same year (Pippen would achieve this feat again in 1996). That team also included Blazers guard Clyde Drexler. This made Jordan, Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks and Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors the only players to have won Olympic gold medals as both amateurs and professionals, having played for Team USA in Los Angeles.[6][7]

The 1992 Finals would be the Blazers' last finals appearance to date. In the next three seasons, the Blazers rebuilt the team, hiring general manager Bob Whitsitt in 1994 and lost the core of their 1992 Finals team to free agency and trades, beginning with Kevin Duckworth's departure to the Bullets in the 1993 offseason. The last remaining piece of the team, Clyde Drexler, was traded and went on to win the NBA championship with the Houston Rockets in 1995.

The 1991–92 Bulls, along with the 1995–96 Bulls, were named one of the 10 greatest teams in NBA history during the league's golden anniversary.

The 1992 championship marked the only time the Bulls celebrated their title at the Chicago Stadium. Following the awarding ceremony by commissioner David Stern, they returned to the court to show their newly-won title in front of Bulls fans. This act eventually led to Stern's decision to present the NBA championship to the winning team at center court in front of the fans, starting in 1994; the only exception was when the Lakers won in 2001 at Philadelphia's First Union Center, but decided to hold the ceremony in their locker room. Two other home championship celebrations followed in the 1996 and 1997 Finals, this time at the similarly-constructed but bigger United Center.

Notes and references

  1. ^ Brown, Clifton (May 30, 1992). "It's Bulls Against Blazers As Jordan Rules Again". The New York Times. p. 27. 
  2. ^ "Clyde Drexler, now no worse than the NBA's No. 2 player". Sports Illustrated. May 11, 1992. 
  3. ^ Isaacson, Melissa (May 30, 1992). "Bulls clinch on Jordan's late revival". The Chicago Tribune. p. Sports.1. 
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Kiley, Mike (May 27, 1992). "If necessary, Game 6 may be pushed back". The Chicago Tribune. p. Sports.8. The Blackhawks may have to reschedule Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals because of a possible Chicago Stadium conflict with the Bulls. If Game 6, scheduled for Friday, June 5, remains necessary in the best-of-seven series against Pittsburgh, it may be pushed back a day...The Bulls are scheduled to play Game 2 of the championship series in the Stadium on June 5. 
  6. ^ "Games of the XXV Olympiad – 1992". USA Basketball Inc. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Games of the XXIII Olympiad – 1984". USA Basketball, Inc. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 

External links

  • NBA History
  • 1992 NBA Finals at Basketball Reference
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