Michael Jordan's legendary "double nickel" performance against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 1995, still holds up 25 years later.
It's easy to remember the 55-point outburst just five games into the superstar's return to the NBA. Jordan, wearing No. 45, broke the record he previously set for most points by an opposing player at MSG. He scored 50 against the Knicks on Nov. 1, 1986.
You remember all that. You might have forgotten how the Bulls won that 113-111 thriller against New York.
Jordan set John Starks up with a spin move, waited for Patrick Ewing to come in for the double team, then dished to Bill Wennington for the game-winning dunk with 3.1 seconds left.
"Hey, don't count on me to shoot it every time. I can pass," Jordan told Craig Sager in the postgame interview.
Yeah, but we'd rather talk about the points.
Sporting News rewatched that classic game. Here is everything you forgot about Jordan's legendary performance, which can be found here:
Bulls vs. Knicks score
|March 28, 1995||1Q||2Q||3Q||4Q||Final|
First quarter: Jordan quickly heats up
Bob Neal and Hubie Brown were on the call for this game, and remember the Knicks were 44-24 and the defending Eastern Conference champions. The Bulls were 37-33 and coming off a 99-98 victory against Atlanta in which Jordan hit the game-winning shot. He had 32 points in that game.
Jordan wasted no time tormenting Starks, hitting six of his first seven shots, and the Knicks were called for two illegal defense violations in the first six minutes. The Bulls used Jordan in the post, and the Knicks failed to adjust.
In a monster opening quarter, Jordan scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
A look at Jordan's baskets (time on video):
|5:11||Left elbow jumper over Starks||2|
|6:15||Left elbow jumper over Starks||4|
|9:53||Spin move left baseline over Starks, Charles Oakley||6|
|10:36||Turnaround jumper left baseline over Starks||8|
|14:06||Right elbow jumper over Starks||10|
|14:53||Free throws (made one)||11|
|17:51||Driving jumper left wing over Starks||13|
|26:22||Right wing shot over Starks||15|
|28:34||Right wing shot over Anthony Bonner||17|
|29:06||Right wing 3-pointer over Bonner, Anthony Mason||20|
Second quarter: Knicks holding off Bulls
Jordan sat for a chunk of the quarter, and the Knicks built a 12-point lead.
When Jordan returned, he picked right back up where he left off. A fadeaway jumper over Starks (36:16 on the video) elicited a chorus of "Ooohs" from the Garden. Neal briefly lost track of how many points Jordan had.
He totaled 35 first-half points on 14-of-19 shooting, but the Knicks held a 56-50 lead.
|N/A||Basket not shown||22|
|32:18||Runner in lane over Starks||24|
|34:20||Up-and-under layup (and-one)||27|
|36:16||Fadeaway jumper over Starks||29|
|37:17||Top of key jumper over Starks||31|
|38:00||Free throws (made both)||33|
|39:33||Free throws (made both)||35|
Third quarter: Bulls close gap
Jordan made just three of his six shots in the quarter, but he did hit a pair of 3-pointers.
The Bulls took a 79-78 lead at 1:43 left in the third quarter, and Starks picked up his fourth foul on a cheap call. Jordan made four free throws in the third on his way to 49 points, only one point away from setting a new record with a quarter to play. All tied up at 82.
|N/A||Basket not shown||37|
|46:26||Layup over Starks||39|
|56:10||Free throws (made both)||44|
|58:04||Free throws (made both)||46|
|1:00:02||3-pointer over Mason||49|
Fourth quarter: Jordan in the clutch
Sager interviewed Knicks legend Earl "The Pearl" Monroe before the fourth quarter and asked how to stop Jordan.
"Well, first of all, I would make sure he didn't get off the bus to get into the building," Monroe said.
Jordan started the fourth quarter on the bench and entered the game with 6:50 remaining. Ewing, who had 27 of his 36 points in the second half, kept the Knicks alive as the teams battled back and forth.
Jordan hit the record-breaking jump shot, and Brown, who was the coach for the Knicks when Jordan scored 50, quipped, "It takes me out of the record book." Jordan scored his final basket on a jumper over Starks that was incredibly close to the shot he hit over Bryon Russell in the 1998 NBA Finals for a 111-109 lead with 25.8 seconds left. Starks tied the game with a pair of free throws, and that's when Jordan took the ball for the final sequence.
The game-winning dish to Wennington followed, and the game ended with a backcourt violation after Starks slipped on an inbound pass.
"It's starting to come back to me a little bit," Jordan said to Sager afterward.
|1:16:00||Top of key jumper over Starks||51|
|1:10:05||Left elbow jumper over Starks||53|
|1:26:35||Right wing drive over Starks||55|
A few other things you need to watch:
— Oakley technical foul alert! (16:53)
— Scottie Pippen's dunk over Charles Smith does not get enough attention. (20:23)
— Jordan tried to dunk over Starks and Ewing. That's one of those "best dunks that never happened." Ewing fouled Jordan hard, and Jordan laughed on the floor. (39:33)
— Kobe Bryant and James Harden have both scored 61 points at MSG since Jordan's legendary performance.
— Bill Murray was in attendance. Did this help him land a role in "Space Jam?"