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1991 NBA Finals GM1: Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls
1991 NBA Finals GM1: Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls
Published: 2016/01/05
Channel: off-hand
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 2 (HD Full Game)
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 2 (HD Full Game)
Published: 2017/02/21
Channel: T Stephen
Bulls vs. Lakers - 1991 NBA Finals Game 5 (Bulls win first championship)
Bulls vs. Lakers - 1991 NBA Finals Game 5 (Bulls win first championship)
Published: 2009/09/07
Channel: Scottie33Pippen
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 5 (HD Full Game)
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 5 (HD Full Game)
Published: 2017/02/21
Channel: T Stephen
Learning To Fly - The Chicago Bulls 1st NBA Championship Story
Learning To Fly - The Chicago Bulls 1st NBA Championship Story
Published: 2012/05/04
Channel: NBAPlayoffsChannel
1991 NBA Finals - Game 5 - Chicago Bulls vs Los Angeles Lakers
1991 NBA Finals - Game 5 - Chicago Bulls vs Los Angeles Lakers
Published: 2017/03/11
Channel: Igor Talyuli
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 3 (HD Full Game)
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 3 (HD Full Game)
Published: 2017/02/21
Channel: T Stephen
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 4 (HD Full Game)
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 4 (HD Full Game)
Published: 2017/02/21
Channel: T Stephen
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 1 (HD Full Game)
1991 NBA FINAL - Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 1 (HD Full Game)
Published: 2017/02/19
Channel: T Stephen
Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls vs Magic Lakers NBA Basketball Final 1991 Highlights Mix History HD #22
Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls vs Magic Lakers NBA Basketball Final 1991 Highlights Mix History HD #22
Published: 2016/12/09
Channel: NBA Inside
1991 NBA Finals - Chicago vs Los Angeles - Game 5 Best Plays
1991 NBA Finals - Chicago vs Los Angeles - Game 5 Best Plays
Published: 2013/11/23
Channel: gearmast3r
1991 NBA Finals Game 1 Los Angeles Lakers@Chicago Bulls
1991 NBA Finals Game 1 Los Angeles Lakers@Chicago Bulls
Published: 2017/03/19
Channel: Post Up
1991 NBA Finals GM2: Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls
1991 NBA Finals GM2: Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls
Published: 2016/02/18
Channel: off-hand
1991: NBA on NBC Opening NBA Finals, Game 5
1991: NBA on NBC Opening NBA Finals, Game 5
Published: 2014/05/14
Channel: CatchTheTaste
1991 NBA Finals Game 4 Chicago Bulls@Los Angeles Lakers
1991 NBA Finals Game 4 Chicago Bulls@Los Angeles Lakers
Published: 2017/03/19
Channel: Post Up
Michael Jordan Full Highlights 1991 Finals G5 at Lakers - 30 Pts, 10 Ast, 5 Stls, 1st CHAMPIONSHIP!
Michael Jordan Full Highlights 1991 Finals G5 at Lakers - 30 Pts, 10 Ast, 5 Stls, 1st CHAMPIONSHIP!
Published: 2017/02/17
Channel: VintageDawkins
1991 NBA FINALS GAME 2 INTRO
1991 NBA FINALS GAME 2 INTRO
Published: 2017/07/28
Channel: judau89
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 4 (highlight)
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 4 (highlight)
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: T Stephen
1991 NBA Playoffs ECSF Game 6 Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons
1991 NBA Playoffs ECSF Game 6 Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons
Published: 2017/04/18
Channel: Karol K
Michael Jordan LEGENDARY Performance in 1991 Finals Game 2 at Lakers - 33 Pts, 13 Ast, 15-18 FGM!
Michael Jordan LEGENDARY Performance in 1991 Finals Game 2 at Lakers - 33 Pts, 13 Ast, 15-18 FGM!
Published: 2017/05/27
Channel: VintageDawkins
UntouchaBULLS - The Chicago Bulls 2nd NBA Championship Story
UntouchaBULLS - The Chicago Bulls 2nd NBA Championship Story
Published: 2012/05/04
Channel: NBAPlayoffsChannel
Byron Scott And Scottie Pippen Remember The 1991 NBA Finals | The Jump | ESPN
Byron Scott And Scottie Pippen Remember The 1991 NBA Finals | The Jump | ESPN
Published: 2017/05/23
Channel: ESPN
1991 NBA Finals GM5: Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers
1991 NBA Finals GM5: Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers
Published: 2016/02/18
Channel: off-hand
1991 Finals Top 10 | Chicago Bulls NBA Championship
1991 Finals Top 10 | Chicago Bulls NBA Championship
Published: 2012/09/09
Channel: Basketball Highlights
1991 NBA Finals | Game 5 | Bulls at Lakers | Michael Jordan 30 Pts | Finals MVP
1991 NBA Finals | Game 5 | Bulls at Lakers | Michael Jordan 30 Pts | Finals MVP
Published: 2012/08/13
Channel: kyhoopstv
1991 NBA Finals Game 3 Chicago Bulls@Los Angeles Lakers
1991 NBA Finals Game 3 Chicago Bulls@Los Angeles Lakers
Published: 2017/03/19
Channel: Post Up
Lakers Vs Bulls 1991 NBA Finals (Part 2)
Lakers Vs Bulls 1991 NBA Finals (Part 2)
Published: 2014/06/21
Channel: Joey Reynoso
NBA 2k11 Gameplay Game 1 1991 NBA Finals Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls BUZZER BEATER
NBA 2k11 Gameplay Game 1 1991 NBA Finals Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls BUZZER BEATER
Published: 2015/12/27
Channel: PS2SPORTSINFOSTATION
Vlade DIVAC vs John PAXSON Trashtalk! (1991 NBA Finals)
Vlade DIVAC vs John PAXSON Trashtalk! (1991 NBA Finals)
Published: 2016/06/13
Channel: Hoops Madness
Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship Part 2
Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship Part 2
Published: 2011/03/21
Channel: TheNBAHistory
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 2 (highlight)
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 2 (highlight)
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: T Stephen
Michael Jordan vs Magic Johnson - 1991 NBA Finals
Michael Jordan vs Magic Johnson - 1991 NBA Finals
Published: 2017/01/19
Channel: MerkinMuffly
Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship Part 1
Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship Part 1
Published: 2011/03/21
Channel: TheNBAHistory
NBA on NBC 1991 Finals Bulls vs  Lakers - Intro Game 1
NBA on NBC 1991 Finals Bulls vs Lakers - Intro Game 1
Published: 2011/12/06
Channel: judau89
NBA ON NBC - LAKERS VS BULLS INTRO - NBA FINALS 1991
NBA ON NBC - LAKERS VS BULLS INTRO - NBA FINALS 1991
Published: 2008/03/13
Channel: DrBryant24
Chicago Bulls Introduction 1991 NBA Finals Game 2 vs Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls Introduction 1991 NBA Finals Game 2 vs Los Angeles Lakers
Published: 2014/07/14
Channel: Santiago73
Michael Jordan 1991 NBA Finals Game 2 vs Lakers! 13 Consecutive FG
Michael Jordan 1991 NBA Finals Game 2 vs Lakers! 13 Consecutive FG's & The Switch Hands Layup!
Published: 2016/06/11
Channel: Michael Jordan Archive
Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship run, the road to the trophy
Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship run, the road to the trophy
Published: 2011/03/13
Channel: theAIRJORDANblitz
Michael JORDAN vs Magic JOHNSON  (1991) NBA Finals Game
Michael JORDAN vs Magic JOHNSON (1991) NBA Finals Game
Published: 2016/11/11
Channel: Marc Prime
Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA finals highlights, Game 2
Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA finals highlights, Game 2
Published: 2011/04/24
Channel: 188Sozum
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 5 (highlight)
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 5 (highlight)
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: T Stephen
1991 NBA Finals: Bulls at Lakers, Gm 4 part 1/13
1991 NBA Finals: Bulls at Lakers, Gm 4 part 1/13
Published: 2010/12/22
Channel: keptic
1991 NBA Finals Game 2  Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls
1991 NBA Finals Game 2 Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls
Published: 2016/10/21
Channel: Ule Sports
1991 Eastern Conf Nce Finals Game 4 Chicago Bulls Vs Detroit Pistons Sports Documentary S
1991 Eastern Conf Nce Finals Game 4 Chicago Bulls Vs Detroit Pistons Sports Documentary S
Published: 2017/03/09
Channel: Jerome Long
NBA Flashback: Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers 1991 Finals Game 3 - Magic vs. Michael
NBA Flashback: Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers 1991 Finals Game 3 - Magic vs. Michael
Published: 2010/12/13
Channel: BBALLBREAKDOWN
MICHAEL JORDAN 1991 NBA FINALS GAME 2 - POST GAME INTERVIEW
MICHAEL JORDAN 1991 NBA FINALS GAME 2 - POST GAME INTERVIEW
Published: 2016/06/10
Channel: JohnnyB Chicago Sports
Chicago Bulls - Detroit Pistons | 1991 Playoffs | ECF Game 1: The statement game
Chicago Bulls - Detroit Pistons | 1991 Playoffs | ECF Game 1: The statement game
Published: 2008/01/28
Channel: kOrOne79
Chicago Bulls - Detroit Pistons | 1991 Playoffs | ECF Game 4: Bad Boys are History
Chicago Bulls - Detroit Pistons | 1991 Playoffs | ECF Game 4: Bad Boys are History
Published: 2008/04/09
Channel: kOrOne79
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 3 (highlight)
1991 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers Game 3 (highlight)
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: T Stephen
Throwback: Michael Jordan Full Game 2 Highlights vs Lakers 1991 Finals - 33 Pts, 13 Ast, LEGENDARY!
Throwback: Michael Jordan Full Game 2 Highlights vs Lakers 1991 Finals - 33 Pts, 13 Ast, LEGENDARY!
Published: 2017/06/07
Channel: Real GD's Latest Highlights
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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1991 NBA Finals
1991NBAFinals.png
Team Coach Wins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Los Angeles Lakers Mike Dunleavy 1
Dates June 2–12
MVP Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Television NBC (U.S.)
Announcers Marv Albert and Mike Fratello
Radio network NBA Radio (National)
WLUP (Chicago)
KLAC (Los Angeles)
Announcers Joe McConnell and Frank Layden (NBA Radio)
Jim Durham and Johnny “Red” Kerr (WLUP)
Chick Hearn and Stu Lantz (KLAC)
Referees
Game 1: Hugh Evans, Jack Madden, Hue Hollins
Game 2: Jake O'Donnell, Jess Kersey, Mike Mathis
Game 3: Darell Garretson, Joey Crawford, Bill Oakes
Game 4: Hugh Evans, Ed T. Rush, Dick Bavetta
Game 5: Jake O'Donnell, Jack Madden, Mike Mathis
Hall of Famers Lakers:
Magic Johnson (2002)
James Worthy (2003)
Bulls:
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Officials:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Darell Garretson (2016)
Eastern Finals Bulls defeat Pistons, 4–0
Western Finals Lakers defeat Trail Blazers, 4–2
NBA Finals

The 1991 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1990–91 NBA season. It was also the first NBA Finals broadcast by NBC after 17 years with CBS.

The documentary "Learning to Fly," narrated by Jeff Kaye, recaps Chicago's successful first championship season. The theme song is "Learning to Fly" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference took on the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage. It was Michael Jordan's first NBA Finals appearance, Magic Johnson's last, and the last NBA Finals for the Lakers until 2000. The Bulls would win the series, 4-1. Jordan averaged 31.2 points on 56% shooting, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks en route to his first NBA Finals MVP Award.[1]

The series was not the first time that the Bulls and Lakers faced off in the playoffs. Prior to 1991, they met for four postseason series (1968, 1971, 1972 and 1973), all Lakers victories. Chicago was a member of the Western Conference at the time and moved into the East in 1981. The 1991 Finals marked the first time the Bulls defeated the Lakers in a playoff series.

This series would mark the end of the Lakers Showtime era and the beginning of the Bulls' dynasty. After winning five championships in eight finals appearances in the 1980s, the Lakers would struggle for the rest of the 1990s before winning five championships between the 1999-2000 and 2009-10 seasons.

The 1991 Lakers were led by Johnson, already in his thirties, playing in his last full year, as was fellow All-Star teammate James Worthy; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired two seasons earlier. The Bulls, led by NBA MVP Michael Jordan and superstar small forward Scottie Pippen, would win five more championships after 1991 in a seven-year span, cementing their status as a dynasty before struggling badly in a post-MJ era that saw them take several years to even become average.

When it was all said and done, Michael Jordan became only the third man in NBA history (after George Mikan and Abdul-Jabbar) to capture the scoring title and the NBA Finals Championship in the same season.

Until 2015, the Bulls were the last team to win an NBA championship despite fielding a full roster lacking in championship or Finals experience. None of the Bulls players had logged even a minute of NBA Finals experience prior to this.

Background[edit]

Chicago Bulls[edit]

The 1990–91 season marked the Bulls' 25th in franchise history. The team was coming off a grueling seven-game loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, and in the six years since Michael Jordan joined the Bulls, they were showing signs of improvement.

They managed to put it all together that season, winning a then-franchise record 61 games. Jordan won the scoring title for a fifth consecutive season, but the team was no longer a one-man show of years past. Instead, Jordan distributed the ball with regularity, thanks in large part to the triangle offense instituted by head coach Phil Jackson and assistant Tex Winter. This gave the Bulls additional offensive weapons to choose from, ranging from wingman Scottie Pippen and post players Horace Grant and Bill Cartwright to shooters such as John Paxson and B. J. Armstrong. Jordan's improved all-around play earned him his second MVP award.

In the playoffs, the Bulls lost only once in the first three rounds. They swept the New York Knicks in the first round, then eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round. Their much-awaited rematch with the Detroit Pistons in the conference finals showcased the maturity and poise that the Bulls displayed all season, as they swept the injury-riddled Pistons team. In a last show of defiance, most of the Pistons walked off the court with :08 left on the clock in a blowout loss at home so as not to congratulate the new Eastern Conference champions, though Joe Dumars, Vinnie Johnson, and John Salley did remain to shake the Bulls' hands.[2]

Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

The Lakers were coming off a stunning second round loss to the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs. Even though the Lakers won 63 games that season, and Magic Johnson won league MVP and surpassed Oscar Robertson for the all-time career assist record, it was clear that the team was growing weary of Pat Riley's intense approach.

The Lakers replaced Riley with Mike Dunleavy, Sr., formerly an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. Dunleavy then abandoned the trademark Showtime offense in favor of a more deliberate style of play, but despite the change in playbook, the Lakers still enjoyed an impressive season, winning 58 games.

In the playoffs, the Lakers swept the Houston Rockets in the first round, then eliminated Run TMC and the Golden State Warriors in the second round. Next up for the Lakers were the Portland Trail Blazers, who were coming off a trip to the NBA finals the previous year. The Lakers stunned the Blazers in Portland to open the series, and they went on to win the conference finals in six games.

Road to the Finals[edit]

Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference Champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Portland Trail Blazers 63 19 .768
2 y-San Antonio Spurs 55 27 .671 8
3 x-Los Angeles Lakers 58 24 .707 5
4 x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 8
5 x-Utah Jazz 54 28 .659 9
6 x-Houston Rockets 52 30 .634 11
7 x-Golden State Warriors 44 38 .537 19
8 x-Seattle SuperSonics 41 41 .500 22
9 Orlando Magic 31 51 .378 32
10 Los Angeles Clippers 31 51 .378 32
11 Minnesota Timberwolves 29 53 .354 34
12 Dallas Mavericks 28 54 .341 35
13 Sacramento Kings 25 57 .305 38
14 Denver Nuggets 20 62 .244 43
3rd seed in the West, 3rd best league record
Regular season
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Chicago Bulls 61 21 .744
2 y-Boston Celtics 56 26 .683 5
3 x-Detroit Pistons 50 32 .610 11
4 x-Milwaukee Bucks 48 34 .585 13
5 x-Philadelphia 76ers 44 38 .537 17
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 43 39 .524 18
7 x-Indiana Pacers 41 41 .500 20
8 x-New York Knicks 39 43 .476 22
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 33 49 .402 28
10 Washington Bullets 30 52 .366 31
11 New Jersey Nets 26 56 .317 35
12 Charlotte Hornets 26 56 .317 35
13 Miami Heat 24 58 .293 37

1st seed in the East, 2nd best league record

Defeated the (6) Houston Rockets, 3–0 First Round Defeated the (8) New York Knicks, 3–0
Defeated the (7) Golden State Warriors, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (5) Philadelphia 76ers, 4–1
Defeated the (1) Portland Trail Blazers, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (3) Detroit Pistons, 4–0

Regular season series[edit]

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:

1991 NBA Finals team rosters[edit]

Chicago Bulls[edit]

1991 Chicago Bulls Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
PG 10 United States Armstrong, B.J. 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1967–09–09 Iowa
C 24 United States Cartwright, Bill 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1957–07–30 San Francisco
PF 54 United States Grant, Horace 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1965–07–04 Clemson
SG 14 United States Hodges, Craig 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1960–06–27 Long Beach State
SG 2 United States Hopson, Dennis 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1965–04–22 Ohio State
SG 23 United States Jordan, Michael 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1963–02–17 North Carolina
PF 21 United States King, Stacey 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1967–01–29 Oklahoma
PF 53 United States Levingston, Cliff 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1961–01–04 Wichita State
PG 5 United States Paxson, John 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1959–06–13 North Carolina State
C 32 United States Perdue, Will 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1965–08–29 Vanderbilt
SF 33 United States Pippen, Scottie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1965–09–25 Central Arkansas
PF 42 United States Williams, Scott 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1968–03–21 North Carolina
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

1991 Los Angeles Lakers Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
PF 41 United States Campbell, Elden 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1968–07–23 Clemson
C 12 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Divac, Vlade 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 243 lb (110 kg) 1968–02–03 Serbia
PG 10 United States Drew, Larry 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1958–04–02 Missouri
PF 45 United States Green, A. C. 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1963–10–04 Oregon State
PG 32 United States Johnson, Magic 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1959–08–14 Michigan State
PF 14 United States Perkins, Sam 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1961–06–14 North Carolina
SG 4 United States Scott, Byron 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1961–03–28 Arizona State
SG 34 United States Smith, Tony 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1968–06–14 Marquette
SG 20 United States Teagle, Terry 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1960–04–10 Baylor
PF 30 United States Thomas, Irving 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1966–01–02 Florida State
C 43 The Bahamas Thompson, Mychal 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 226 lb (103 kg) 1955–01–30 Minnesota
SF 42 United States Worthy, James 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1961–02–27 North Carolina
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Series summary[edit]

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team Local Time
Game 1 Sunday, June 2 Chicago Bulls 91–93 (0–1) Los Angeles Lakers 2:30pm CDT
Game 2 Wednesday, June 5 Chicago Bulls 107–86 (1–1) Los Angeles Lakers 8:00pm CDT
Game 3 Friday, June 7 Los Angeles Lakers 96–104 OT (1–2) Chicago Bulls 6:00pm PDT
Game 4 Sunday, June 9 Los Angeles Lakers 82–97 (1–3) Chicago Bulls 4:30pm PDT
Game 5 Wednesday, June 12 Los Angeles Lakers 101–108 (1–4) Chicago Bulls 6:00pm PDT

Game 1[edit]

June 2
3:30 pm EDT
Los Angeles Lakers 93, Chicago Bulls 91
Scoring by quarter: 29–30, 22–23, 24–15, 18–23
Pts: Perkins, Worthy 22 each
Rebs: Vlade Divac 14
Asts: Magic Johnson 11
Pts: Michael Jordan 36
Rebs: Horace Grant 10
Asts: Michael Jordan 12
Los Angeles lead the series, 1–0
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 14 Jack Madden
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins

Michael Jordan started dominating with 15 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in the first quarter alone. In the second quarter, the Lakers continued to stay competitive despite Magic Johnson not attempting one field goal in the second quarter. Despite this, Magic Johnson would hit back-to-back 3 pointers in the third quarter to give the Lakers their largest lead, and also Magic Johnson's 29th career playoff triple-double. Jordan made a comeback in the fourth quarter with 13 points, but it was Scottie Pippen's two free throws that would give the Bulls a 91-89 lead. Each team ran the shot clock down but neither could hit a shot until Sam Perkins hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to give the Lakers a 92-91 lead. Michael Jordan's 17-foot jumper then rattled out, and Byron Scott hit one of two free throws. The Bulls were out of time outs so all they could manage was a 50-foot heave by Pippen that went off the back of the rim.

This was also the last time the NBA Finals aired a Sunday afternoon game before moving to a primetime slot.

Game 2[edit]

June 5
9:00 pm EDT
Los Angeles Lakers 86, Chicago Bulls 107
Scoring by quarter: 23–28, 20–20, 26–38, 17–21
Pts: James Worthy 24
Rebs: Green, Johnson 7 each
Asts: Magic Johnson 10
Pts: Michael Jordan 33
Rebs: Jordan, Perdue 7 each
Asts: Michael Jordan 13
Series tied, 1–1
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Referees:
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis

The biggest decision of the game was putting Scottie Pippen on Magic Johnson, while Michael Jordan guarded Vlade Divac. This proved to be effective as Scottie Pippen stopped Magic from "going off" keeping him to only 14 points and 10 assists. For the Bulls, the hero was Horace Grant who led the Bulls with 14 first half points, while Jordan only had 2 points for the first 20 minutes; however, for Jordan, this shooting drought would only prove to be temporary and Jordan would hit his next 13 shots in compensation. The Lakers were in the game even when Chicago was leading 58-51 until Byron Scott fouled Pippen, and the Bulls would make 17 of their next 20 field goals in the third quarter despite Jordan spending time on the bench with foul trouble. By the time Jordan returned, their lead was 16 and then Jordan led the Bulls to an 11-0 run to a Bulls victory. The signature moment of the series came when Jordan accelerated towards the basket, raised the ball in his right hand for a dunk, then, to avoid a potential Sam Perkins block, switched the ball to his left and banked in a layup that caused a booming standing ovation at Chicago Stadium.

Game 3[edit]

June 7
9:00 pm EDT
Chicago Bulls 104, Los Angeles Lakers 96 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 25–25, 23–22, 18–25, 26–20, Overtime: 12–4
Pts: Michael Jordan 29
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 13
Asts: Michael Jordan 9
Pts: Sam Perkins 25
Rebs: Sam Perkins 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 10
Chicago lead the series, 2–1
Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California
Referees:
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

The Bulls were having trouble in the frontcourt (in Game 1, the Lakers frontcourt outscored Chicago's 60-31). In Game 3, the Lakers would be the ones having trouble, setting a rebounding low in the Finals. Despite this problem, the Lakers went for an 18-2 run that brought them from 3 down (49-52) to 13 up (67-54). The Bulls would answer with a 20-7 run that would tie the game in the 4th quarter at 74. Horace Grant's layup gave the Bulls a 3-point lead with 1:07 to play, while Perkins then scored to cut the lead to 1 with 0:39 left. Vlade would then go for a layup, only to be fouled and give the Lakers a 2-point lead. Michael then went up and shot a 2-point field goal to tie the game. In overtime, Jordan would score half of the Bulls 12 points to win the game.

Game 4[edit]

June 9
7:00 pm EDT
Chicago Bulls 97, Los Angeles Lakers 82
Scoring by quarter: 27–28, 25–16, 22–14, 23–24
Pts: Michael Jordan 28
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 9
Asts: Michael Jordan 13
Pts: Vlade Divac 27
Rebs: Vlade Divac 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 11
Chicago lead the series, 3–1
Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
A ticket for Game 4 of the 1991 NBA Finals at the Great Western Forum.

The Lakers had a 28-27 lead in the first quarter; only the second time in the 1991 playoffs that a team led the Bulls at the end of the first quarter. This did not matter as Chicago went on a 19-9 run to start the second period and gain a 46-37 lead. While Michael Jordan scored 11 points in the second quarter, the Lakers only made 12 of their 41 shots in the second and third quarters. The Lakers faced a huge blow as Worthy and Scott left the game (and eventually the series) with ankle and shoulder injuries, respectively. With the lack of Worthy and Scott, and bad shooting (especially from Sam Perkins), the Bulls were able to take a 16-point lead in the third quarter. The Lakers refused to go down and shrank the deficit to 7 points in the fourth quarter, but it was the closest they would get, as Pippen and Jordan led the Bulls on a 19-8 run to put them one game away from their first NBA Championship.

Game 5[edit]

June 12
9:00 pm EDT
Chicago Bulls 108, Los Angeles Lakers 101
Scoring by quarter: 27–25, 21–24, 32–31, 28–21
Pts: Scottie Pippen 32
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 13
Asts: Michael Jordan 10
Pts: Sam Perkins 22
Rebs: Magic Johnson 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 20
Chicago wins the series, 4–1
Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California
Referees:
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 14 Jack Madden
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis

The Lakers were facing elimination, and the absences of James Worthy and Byron Scott were not any help to the Lakers. This would not stop Magic Johnson as Johnson had 20 assists in the game. Elden Campbell outscored Michael Jordan with 13 points in the first half. The Lakers still fought and even led 93-90 in the fourth quarter, but the Bulls went on a 9-0 run, and Paxson's 10 points in the final half of the fourth quarter helped secure the Chicago Bulls', and Michael Jordan's, first NBA title. It was the only one of the Bulls' six Finals appearances to end in four games to one. This was also the last NBA Finals game to be played in The Forum (by the time the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals, they had moved to the new Staples Center).

Quotes from the Finals[edit]

Oh, a spectacular move by Michael Jordan!

— NBA on NBC's Marv Albert, calling Jordan's hand-switching moment in Game 2

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Chicago Bulls
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Armstrong, B. J.B. J. Armstrong 5 0 7.4 .455 .000 .000 0.6 0.8 0.4 0.0 2.0
Cartwright, BillBill Cartwright 5 5 32.0 .435 .000 .667 5.0 2.4 0.6 0.6 8.8
Grant, HoraceHorace Grant 5 5 39.6 .627 .000 .750 7.8 1.6 1.6 0.6 14.6
Hodges, CraigCraig Hodges 5 0 10.6 .391 .167 .000 0.6 0.2 0.0 0.0 3.8
Hopson, DennisDennis Hopson 1 0 2.0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jordan, MichaelMichael Jordan 5 5 44.0 .558 .500 .848 6.6 11.4 2.8 1.4 31.2
King, StaceyStacey King 2 0 3.0 .000 .000 1.000 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
Levingston, CliffCliff Levingston 5 0 18.0 .615 .000 .000 2.8 0.6 1.0 1.0 3.2
Paxson, JohnJohn Paxson 5 5 31.8 .653 .250 1.000 2.0 3.4 1.0 0.0 13.4
Perdue, WillWill Perdue 5 0 7.4 .600 .000 1.000 2.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 1.6
Pippen, ScottieScottie Pippen 5 5 43.6 .453 .200 .862 9.4 6.6 2.4 1.0 20.8
Williams, ScottScott Williams 4 0 11.3 .500 .000 .667 2.3 0.8 0.0 0.3 2.0
Los Angeles Lakers
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Campbell, EldenElden Campbell 3 0 11.0 .625 .000 .750 1.3 0.0 1.0 0.7 7.7
Divac, VladeVlade Divac 5 5 41.6 .565 .000 1.000 8.8 2.0 1.8 2.4 18.2
Drew, LarryLarry Drew 4 0 5.0 .375 .000 .500 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.8
Green, A. C.A. C. Green 5 1 22.6 .313 .667 .583 5.6 0.2 0.6 0.0 5.8
Johnson, MagicMagic Johnson 5 5 45.6 .431 .286 .951 8.0 12.4 1.2 0.0 18.6
Perkins, SamSam Perkins 5 5 41.2 .406 .385 .759 7.6 1.0 0.4 1.4 16.6
Scott, ByronByron Scott 4 4 35.0 .278 .200 .700 1.8 1.8 0.8 0.0 4.5
Smith, TonyTony Smith 2 0 16.0 .714 .000 .667 0.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 6.0
Teagle, TerryTerry Teagle 5 1 14.2 .333 .000 .786 0.4 0.2 0.6 0.2 5.0
Thompson, MychalMychal Thompson 1 0 10.0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Worthy, JamesJames Worthy 4 4 41.0 .479 .167 .667 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 19.3

Media coverage[edit]

As previously stated, this was the first Finals to be telecast in the United States by NBC. NBC Sports used Marv Albert on play-by-play and Mike Fratello as color analyst. Ahmad Rashād (for the Bulls) and Steve "Snapper" Jones (for the Lakers) served as sideline reporters.

This was the only NBA Finals series in which recently departed Lakers coach Pat Riley worked as a broadcaster; he was paired with Bob Costas in the pre-game, half-time and post-game presentations. Riley was then hired as head coach by the New York Knicks in the 1991 offseason.

In Chicago, this was Jim Durham's only Finals appearance as the Bulls' radio announcer (he also announced Bulls games on television via simulcast during the regular season and playoffs). He would later announce several NBA Finals games on ESPN Radio. Neil Funk succeeded Durham the following season and was the radio voice on five NBA Finals involving the Bulls (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998). The simulcasts would also end after the season, with Wayne Larrivee (on WGN-TV) and Tom Dore (on cable) becoming the Bulls' television announcers the next season; by the 2008–09 NBA season Funk was calling television play-by-play on both networks while Chuck Swirsky called radio play-by-play.

Aftermath[edit]

The Bulls championship started the dynasty that lasted through the 1990s. In the 1991-92 NBA season the Bulls won their second straight NBA title, winning a then-franchise record 67 wins and defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in six games of the 1992 NBA Finals.

The Lakers' Showtime era would end on November 7, 1991, as Magic Johnson announced his retirement due to the HIV virus. He did, however, play in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game and eventually with the Dream Team in the 1992 Summer Olympics. The Lakers would decline in the years following Magic's retirement, being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs two straight years (1992 - 1993) before missing the playoffs entirely in 1994. It would be nine years before the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals; by then they had moved to the Staples Center, marking the 1991 Finals the last to be held at the Forum.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Jordan 1990-91 NBA Finals, basketball-reference.com, accessed April 26, 2009.
  2. ^ Vincent Goodwill (2010-07-01). "Ex-Piston Isiah Thomas regrets snub of Bulls in '91". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

External links[edit]

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