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Michael Jordan "The Shot"

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

The Shot was a basketball play that occurred on May 7, 1989 during a playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). It took place during the deciding Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round series, at Richfield Coliseum in Richfield Township, Ohio. With the best-of-five series tied at two games apiece and the Cavaliers leading the game by one point with three seconds left, Bulls player Michael Jordan received an inbound pass and made a buzzer-beater shot to give the Bulls a 101–100 win and clinch a series victory. The play capped off a final minute in which there were six lead changes. Jordan finished the game with 44 points. The Shot is considered to be one of his greatest clutch moments, and the game itself is regarded as a classic. Here is a clip of the the final moments of the game and Michael Jordan being interviewed immediately after the shot:

This series was a playoff rematch of last season's Eastern Conference First Round series, in which the Bulls won the best-of-five series 3–2. However, the Cavaliers swept the regular season games against the Bulls 6–0, including a 90–84 victory in the final regular season game, in which they rested their four best players (Ron Harper, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Larry Nance). Cleveland was the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference and Chicago was the 6th. This was a role reversal as Chicago was the third seed and Cleveland was the sixth seed in last year's playoff meeting. Cleveland had a 57–25 regular season record, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the second-best record in the league behind the Detroit Pistons. Here is another look at the shot;

Chicago's regular season record that year was 47–35, which although it placed them fifth in their division, was good enough for the sixth playoff seed in the conference. Given both these factors, the Bulls' playoff victory was considered a major upset. In retrospect, it symbolized the beginning of a dynasty of Jordan's Bulls. It was the first of many game-winning shots that Jordan made in his playoff career. In Game 4 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Jordan made another series-winning buzzer-beater on the same end of the court in the same building, to give the Bulls their 4th playoff series win over the Cavaliers, that time a 4-game sweep. Here is a clip of some interviews of Michael Jordan looking back on the shot:

The Chicago Bulls would go on to lose to the The Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" team, who in the finals would go on to defeat the Western Conference champion Los Angeles for the 1989 NBA Title.

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