After missing most of his sophomore campaign with a broken foot, Michael Jordan came back strong, eager to prove that he belongs in the NBA’s elite. The recuperated and improved MJ reached new heights over the 1986-87 season, averaging league-leading 37.1ppg.
One of Jordan’s most impressive performances of that unforgettable season came on April 13th, 1987, when he lit up the Bucks with 50 points, by putting on a dazzling display of his spectacular in-game dunks and a wide variety of lay-ups around the hoop.
Knowing well that the Bucks are one of the weakest teams in the category of protecting the rim in the league, MJ had his way with the Bucks designated defenders Sidney Moncrief and Paul Pressey. Then he accelerated, ‘took flight’ and mercilessly attacked whoever stood in his way, without having any second thoughts which might that be.
The Bucks best shot-blocker at the time was center Jack Sikma who averaged 1.1bpg over the 1986-87 campaign. The second best was a power forward Terry Cummings with 1.0bpg, while the Bucks, as a team, averaged the only 4.8bpg, which put them on the 17th spot (out of 23 teams) for the season. Sikma was one of MJ’s favorite victims around the rim and is regularly featured in Jordan’s top 10 dunks highlights.
This offensive concept eventually worked perfectly for the Bulls – on the given night, Jordan soared to 50 points on 16-31 shooting from the field and 18-22 from behind the charity stripe! MJ also added nine boards, four assists, four steals, and three blocked shots to the Bulls stat sheet for 114-107 away win in Wisconsin.
In six starts against the Bucks, the team which eliminated the Bulls in the 1985 NBA play-offs, Jordan averaged 34.3ppg, 6.3rpg, and 3.0apg in 38.7 minutes per game. Moreover, he drove the Bucks head coach Don Nelson crazy by propelling the Bulls to 4-2 regular-season record over the Bucks, with two of those wins convincingly right in the Milwaukee’s ‘fortress’ – The Bradley Center.
That season, Jordan came back grandly, transforming the game and proving that he belongs to the NBA elite. He led the league in scoring by averaging 37.1 points per game, to go along with 5.2rpg, 4.6apg, 2.9spg, and 1.5bpg. However, the most telling stat is perhaps that he averaged career-high 11.9 free-throw attempts per game, and was able to connect on 10.2 of those, for 85.7% efficiency.