On January 16, 1993, the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic met in the season’s 35th game, and Michael Jordan was determined to get the best out of that duel. MJ scored 64 points in an epic matchup, but despite one of his best-ever performances, the Bulls lost 128-124 in overtime.
The Bulls had a six-point lead with 44 seconds left on the clock and couldn’t close out the game in the end. Even Michael’s all-time performance wasn’t enough. MJ attempted 49 field goal shots ( on 55,1% efficiency and had only five three-point shot attempts (one made). He got to the foul line 11 times, and he added six rebounds, only one assist, and stole the ball five times. To put it in perspective, Kobe had 46 shots in his 81 points game – three fewer than MJ in this one. The next highest scorer on the Bulls team was Scottie Pippen, with just 17.
One of the reasons MJ wanted to make a statement in his game was a rookie playing for the Magic. Shaquille O’Neal finished the game with 29 points and 24 rebounds, and more importantly, the W. After the game, Jordan stayed true to his competitive nature and told reporters he didn’t care about how he played.
“The points don’t make a difference to me. It’s just wasted energy in a sense because we didn’t finish the game the way we should have. We just gave away the game. We played good enough, but we just made some dumb plays. When you blow a six-point lead in less than a minute, there is something wrong with that. Getting 64 points doesn’t mean anything when you lose.”Michael Jordan, Chicago Tribune
That 64-point performance was the second-most points Jordan scored during his career. In 1990 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, MJ scored 69. This was just the first in a line of great Shaq – MJ battles. Shaq will tell you himself – his team was the only one that knocked out the great 90s Bulls from the playoffs.