|Eastern Finals:||Bulls defeated Cavaliers, 4–2|
|Western Finals:||Trail Blazers defeated Jazz, 4–2|
The 1992 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1991–92 NBA season.
The defending NBA champion Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference, took on the Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home-court advantage, as they had the best record in the NBA.
The two teams appeared headed to face each other for most of the season and comparisons were made between Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan throughout the season. A month earlier Sports Illustrated had even listed Drexler as Jordan's "No. 1 rival" on a cover the two appeared on together before the playoffs. The media, hoping to recreate a Magic Johnson-Larry Bird type rivalry in Jordan-Drexler, compared the two throughout the pre-Finals hype.
The Bulls would go on to win the series in six games. Michael Jordan was named Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, to go with his sixth straight regular-season scoring titles.
NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashad (both teams sidelines).
1992 NBA Playoffs
|Portland Trail Blazers (Western Conference Champion)||Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Champion)|
1st Pacific, 1st West, 2nd Overall
|Regular season||67–15 (.817)
1st Central, 1st East, 1st Overall
|Defeated the (8) Los Angeles Lakers, 3–1||First Round||Defeated the (8) Miami Heat, 3–0|
|Defeated the (4) Phoenix Suns, 4–1||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the (4) New York Knicks, 4–3|
|Defeated the (2) Utah Jazz, 4–2||Conference Finals||Defeated the (3) Cleveland Cavaliers, 4–2|
Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991-92 season, finishing with a 67-15 record. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with a 30.1/6.4/6.1 season. After a physical seven game series over the emerging New York Knicks in the second round and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals.
Portland Trail Blazers
In the 1991-92 campaign, the Blazers repeated as Pacific champions. They steamrolled through the Western Conference playoffs en route to the epic showdown with the Bulls. The 1992 NBA Finals would cement the reputations of both Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler (placing the latter firmly in the former's shadow).
|Game||Date||Home Team||Result||Road Team|
|Game 1||Wednesday, June 3||Chicago||122-89||Portland|
|Game 2||Friday, June 5||Chicago||104-115 (OT)||Portland|
|Game 3||Sunday, June 7||Portland||84-94||Chicago|
|Game 4||Wednesday, June 10||Portland||93-88||Chicago|
|Game 5||Friday, June 12||Portland||106-119||Chicago|
|Game 6||Sunday, June 14||Chicago||97-93||Portland|
Bulls win series 4-2
Wednesday, June 3, at the Chicago Stadium
Michael Jordan dominated from the beginning, breaking the record for most points in a first half in the playoffs once held by Elgin Baylor (Michael had 35, Baylor had 33). This included six first-half three-pointers (also a record). It was after the sixth three-pointer that Jordan turned towards the broadcast table and famously shrugged to indicate his surprise. Jordan's shrug has since become a highlight reel mainstay. This was needed as Portland made their first 7 shots and ran to an 8-point lead in the first half, only to go down 28-29 to the Bulls at the end of the quarter. Portland was leading by 1 at 44-45, only for Chicago to take control and go on a 23-6 run to a 67-51 lead. The game was decided, and the Bulls earned a 122 to 89 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Friday, June 5, at the Chicago Stadium
Portland built an 8 point lead in the first quarter, and also built a 9 point lead in the half. However, as in Game 1, their lead started to disappear as the Bulls made their run - Jordan would score 14 points while Paxson would score 9 points in the third quarter, taking a 7 point lead in the third quarter. Chicago was looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series when Clyde Drexler fouled out with 4:36 remaining. With the Bulls up by 10, Jordan started to lose his poise, committing a foul and then a technical foul. This would help Portland build a 15-5 run pushing the game into overtime after Jordan narrowly missed at the buzzer. In overtime, Portland dominated, especially Ainge who scored 6 points with 1 minute remaining as the Blazers won 115-104, the Bulls worst home defeat in an NBA finals game.
Sunday, June 7, at the Memorial Coliseum
Chicago had lost home court advantage, but regained it as they dominated Portland, holding them to numerous franchise playoff lows: 84 points in a game, 39 2nd half points and 28 field goals. Chicago would go on a 30-13 run in the first half to gain a 44-30 lead which Portland would cut to 3 with 7:09 left in the third before the Bulls went to another 12-3 run. Portland would then go on a field goal drought not scoring from the 4:33 mark in the third quarter until the 9:36 mark of the 4th, a 6:57 stretch.
Wednesday, June 10, at the Memorial Coliseum
Portland was still playing as they were during Game 3, not scoring for 4 minutes and finding themselves down 10-0. The Bulls would be up 22-9 before the Blazers climbed up and cut the deficit to 3 at half but found themselves down again in the 3rd period. While Jordan had an amazing third quarter, scoring 13 points, he would not score in the game's final 10:26. Portland would go on a 15-6 run to even the series at 2 games.
Friday, June 12, at the Memorial Coliseum
The Bulls jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back, answering every Blazers comeback attempt with a run of their own. Chicago opened the second half on a 16-8 run to give the Bulls a 20-point lead. Portland didn't pull back within single digits until less than four minutes were left in the game, and ended up losing 119-106.
Michael Jordan finished with 46 points on 14-of-23 from the field and 16-of-19 from the line. Scottie Pippen fell just short of a triple-double, with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Clyde Drexler scored 30 points to lead six Portland players in double figures. However, Portland had 18 turnovers and shot just 43.8 percent from the field, compared to 54.8 percent for the Bulls.
Sunday, June 14, at the Chicago Stadium
Portland started strongly as they held Michael Jordan scoreless for the game's first 11 minutes, and would take a 43-28 lead miday through the 2nd quarter before Chicago went on a 16-7 run and cut the deficit to only 6 points. Portland also dominated the third quarter, building a 79-64 lead. Phil Jackson would go with 4 reserves and Scottie Pippen to start the fourth quarter, cutting Portland's lead to 3 after only 3 minutes. Jordan returned and had two steals and converted them to hoops to give Chicago a permanent lead. The Bulls defense would hold Portland to only 6 in the final 4 minutes, leading the Bulls to their second straight Championship.
The Chicago Blackhawks were in the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals at the same time, but got swept by the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
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Untouchabulls and "Jam"
Just months later, the 1991-92 NBA season documentary Untouchabulls was released. Narrated by Hal Douglas, it recaps the Bulls' championship season. "Jam" by Michael Jackson was used as the theme song for the documentary. That same year, Jordan was featured in Jackson's music video for "Jam".
|ABA League seasons|
|ABA League seasons|
- Later in 1992, Jordan, Pippen, and Drexler all won the gold medal while playing for the "Dream Team" at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Jordan and Pippen became the first professionals to win both an NBA championship and Olympic gold medal in the same year.
- 1992 was also the only year that Chicago hosted a concurrent finals series in hockey and basketball. However, the coach of the Blackhawks, Mike Keenan, would see it again when he coached the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years two years later.