On this date in 1988, Michael Jordan became the first player to score 50 or more points in consecutive playoff games when he drilled Cleveland for 55 points in Chicago’s 106-101 victory in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. In Game 1 on April 28, Jordan scored 50 points in Chicago’s 104-93 victory.
Before the late ’80s, the Cavaliers had struggled through much of their nearly 20-year existence. With just four playoff appearances in 17 seasons, Cleveland was ready to support a winning basketball team.
Enter Lenny Wilkens, now a Hall of Fame coach and player, who guided the Cavs to the playoffs in just his second season on the sidelines (1987-88). The roster was deep, talented, and meshed extremely well. Six players averaged 10 points or more, led by Daugherty’s 18.7 a game.
On Chicago’s side, a 24-year-old Jordan was quickly rising to superstardom. He finished the 1987-88 season with 35 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.
In game one Craig Ehlo was supposed to be in charge of guarding Jordan because of an ankle injury to the more athletic guard Ron Harper. In response, Jordan caught fire and scored 50 points.
After being embarrassed in game one, Cleveland sent Ron Harper to do the dirty work and guard Michael from the first minute of game 2. Harper said there is no way Jordan would be able to score 50 on him.
Jordan finished the game with 55 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals shooting 53% from the field. One important side note is that he did it without attempting a single 3-pointer.
Despite an impressive lineup that featured Price, Daugherty, Larry Nance, Ron Harper, and John “Hot Rod” Williams, the Cavs were no match for Jordan. The Bulls ended up taking the opening-round series 3-2 behind Jordan’s whopping 45.2 points a night.