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"Michael read that comment" -- Ron Harper prompted Michael Jordan's 55-point game vs. the Cavaliers

On this date, Michael Jordan became the first player in NBA history with two consecutive 50-point playoff games. It turns out, Ron Harper had something to do with it.
Michael Jordan 55 points vs Cleveland Cavaliers in 1988

Michael Jordan in 1988

Cleveland Cavaliers put up a great fight in Game 2 of the 1988 Eastern Conference First Round against the Chicago Bulls. There was only one problem -- Michael Jordan.

Back to back 50-point games

Coming off a 50-point performance in Game 1 -- the Bulls won a series opener 104-93 -- Jordan had another historic scoring display, becoming the first player in playoff history to drop 50 or more in consecutive games.

But even once the final buzzer had sounded, and the Bulls started celebrating another home victory, Michael still wasn't aware of his feat.

“I didn’t know anything about any record,” MJ said. “We’re 2-0 instead of 0-2 because we’re playing as a team. I know I’m scoring, but I’m contributing to all parts of our game. Records don’t mean anything.”

Michael finished the game with 55 points on 24-for-45 from the floor -- the most single-game field goal attempts in postseason history. He added 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals, leading the Bulls to a 106-101 victory. And once again, he delivered when it mattered the most.

With two minutes left on the clock and the score tied at 98, Jordan dropped 6 of the team's last 8 points, including two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game. The Cavs didn't even attempt a long-range shot to tie, and after a missed shot from close range, the game was over.

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But so was MJ's revenge campaign against Ron Harper.

"Michael read that comment"

Harper, the Cavs' best perimeter defender at the time, missed Game 1 with an ankle injury. So the coaching staff had Craig Ehlo defending Michael -- or at least trying to.

Following MJ's 50-point display, Harper, knowing he would be back for Game 2, said that "Jordan never would have scored 50 on him." 

Jordan responded with one of the greatest scoring displays in NBA history. His performance throughout the entire five-game series -- the Bulls advanced to the second round after beating the Cavs 107-101 in Game 5 -- was also historic.

He averaged 45.2 points on 56% from the floor, along with 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.8 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game. 

Only nine times in NBA history a player has averaged 40 points per game in a playoff series; Jordan did it five times, with the 1988 first-round matchup against the Cavs being the highest-scoring one.


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