We’re all excited about the NBA resuming the season in Orlando, especially as specifics about the plan to resume play surface, and we get a clearer image of how the regular season and playoffs will roll-out. Not so long ago, the only thing we had was The Last Dance taking us down memory lane. A lane some of Michael Jordan‘s former teammates were not happy about. Scottie Pippen is one of those players.
If you’re wondering why Scottie was so unhappy, I would like to direct your attention to Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals. More specifically, the Bulls’ run to close the deficit on the Trail Blazers.
Chicago was coming off a 13 point win in game 5 in Portland and was ready to close the series, but Clyde Drexler and the Trailblazers had other plans. They have proven to be a worthy opponent throughout the whole series and caught fire in the first three-quarters of the game. Portland finished the third quarter with a 15 point lead, and their dreams of forcing a Game 7 were more than alive.
I bet you’re all expecting a typical Jordan-Bulls movie-like ending with him completely taking over and carrying the team on his shoulders. But that wasn’t the case. Not at first, at least. Jordan started the fourth sitting on the bench. The only starter who was on the floor was Scottie Pippen.
The lineup of Pippen-Armstrong-Willams-King-Hansen brought the Bulls back to life, bringing them within three points in three and a half minutes. Pip orchestrated the run. He was drawing triple teams and bullying his way to the basket. Scottie was the team’s anchor on the defensive end and had forced many turnovers, including Drexler’s double dribble, that was the tipping point for the complete shift of momentum.
When Jordan finally re-entered the game, it was his for the taking. MJ did what he had always done, scoring 10 of the Bulls’ last 12 points, bringing Chicago their second straight NBA title.
Despite Jordan’s heroic closeout frenzy, all credit should go to Pippen and bench guys. But especially Pippen. He scored 11 of his 26 points in the final 12 minutes of the game, setting the table for Michael to come back in and do his thing.
Why wasn’t this in a documentary – it’s hard to tell. It had enough Jordan in it for him to give his approval. Maybe it had just a little too much Pippen. Stuff like this may be why Pippen has been notably silent since the airing of the doc. He should’ve gotten more credit for this performance.