The Chicago Bulls from the ’90s are still regarded as the best team in NBA history, not just because of their accomplishments but also because they were able to dismantle their opponents in so many different ways. Their win over the Indiana Pacers on February 18, 1996, is the perfect example of that.
The 32-19 Indiana Pacers hosted the Bulls, who were on a quest for No.1 seed and were looking for their 46th win of the regular season. And just like every other matchup between these two teams in the ’90s, this was no ordinary regular-season game. But unfortunately for the fans in the Market Square Arena that night, the big three of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman made sure that this one went in favor of Chicago.
Michael Jordan scored 44 points, and Scottie Pippen had a season-high 40 points to go along with ten rebounds. That was only the ninth time in NBA history two teammates scored 40 or more points in the same game. And when MJ and Pip achieve something not done in the NBA in a dozen years, why should Dennis Rodman get any notice? How about for 23 rebounds he grabbed that night, providing seven-second-chance opportunities for the Bulls and once again being the energy boost the team needed.
When Rodman gets 23 rebounds, it’s like he scored 20 points. If they missed, they’d get another rebound. That put more pressure on the defense.
With this being a potential post-season clash, the Bulls came to Indiana to send a message. Especially since they were 1-1 in their head-to-head matchups that season so this was their chance to take the lead and give Indiana a sneak peek of what they’d be up against if they were to meet in the Playoffs. It led to the entire team being in the zone that night, with Michael and Scottie being the ones who set the tone.
We had to send a message and come in here ready to play because they’re trying to send a message.
Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman orchestrated one of the most dominant performances that night against the Pacers, who couldn’t find a way to slow down the Bulls big three. After this game, the Bulls record improved to 46-5 in the regular season, and they would end up losing only five more games before they entered the playoffs.
They would end up cruising through the playoffs as well and win the NBA championship after a six-game Finals series against the Seattle Supersonics.