THE FREEZEOUT GAME Every pass between Isiah and MJ in ’84

THE FREEZEOUT GAME Every pass between Isiah and MJ in ’84

The 1985 NBA All-Star in Indianapolis is today commonly known as the Freezeout game. Folks remember it not for Ralph Sampson‘s brilliant MVP performance; they recognize it as an opening prelude to the upcoming Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls rivalry, which eventually culminated with the infamous walk-out in 1991.

Both Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan started the 1985 NBA All-Star Game for the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Thomas led the East with 22 points on 9-15 shooting in 25 minutes of play, while the Bulls spectacular rookie Jordan scored only 7 points on 2-9 shooting from the field in 22 minutes of the game. 

What makes Thomas’s performance in Indianapolis considerably suspicious, bearing in mind that he led the league in assists with incredible 13.9 assists per game over the 1984 campaign, is that Zeke was able to dish out only five assists in 25 minutes of action! Such a diminishing offensive effort in a game in which he was surrounded such great offensive players as Michael Jordan, Julius ErvingLarry Bird, and Moses Malone! 

Even Sidney Moncrief, who came in as a part of the team’s second unit, dished out four dimes in almost as many minutes as Thomas (Moncrief played 22 minutes that night). Thomas maybe didn’t look away from Jordan but certainly didn’t do anything other to dish MJ the ball on isolation plays at the wing. There, Jordan was left alone to create his own space off the dribble. The latest video evidence reveals the final count of the in-game passes between Thomas and Jordan. 

Michael Jordan 4, Isiah Thomas 7

The only pass in this storied game, which eventually ended up with the field goal, came at the end of the first half. Jordan drove down the lane on George Gervin and then dished out the ball to Thomas, who spotted up in the left corner. Thomas then nailed the triple to tie the game at the halftime. 

Isiah tried to return the favor by ballooning one up for intended alley-oop play with Jordan. But even though MJ eventually hit the air breaks and got himself suspended in the air for a brief moment, it was Rolando Blackman who went up to intercept this one. With Thomas being known for his precision passes over his illustrious 13-year long NBA career, this one certainly was not one of those for the Pistons point guard.  

West won the game by 140-129, and the MVP was the Rockets 7’4” power forward Ralph Sampson. Being a great performer at such razzle-dazzle events, Thomas was voted the game’s MVP in 1984 (Denver) and 1986 (Dallas). East won both of those games.

Basketball Network contributor Murray Crnogaj, the 1980s and 1990s basketball specialist, is the proud co-author of the TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon.’