The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls were arguably the best team in NBA history, led by arguably the greatest player in NBA history.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: The accomplishments of the 1995-96 Bulls only get more amazing as time passes.
17 years ago tonight, the Bulls defeated the Bullets 103-93 to finish the season with a 72-10 record and .878 winning percentage, which eclipsed the NBA record set by 1972 Lakers, who went 69-13 for an .841 percentage. The victory over Washington earned Chicago their 33rd road victory, the most ever in a season by an NBA team.
Chicago was ridiculously hot all year and consistent throughout. The Bulls finished the month of November with a 12-2 record but improved in each of the next two months, going 13-1 in December and 14-0 in January, running their record to 39-3 after three months. In February, the Bulls ran their record to 41-3 and became the fastest NBA team to 41 wins, again besting the '71-72 Lakers previous record.
After the incredible regular season, CHI didn't cool off, going 15-3 in the playoffs for a combined total record of 87-13. The Supersonics won three of those 13 games, while the Indiana Pacers were the only other team to beat them more than once that season, winning two games in the regular season by a total of five points.
During the same victory over Washington 17 years ago, Michael Jordan set an NBA record by winning his eighth NBA scoring title (breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record of seven) after accumulating 2,491 points in 82 games for a 30.4 ppg average. The 30+ ppg average was the last time Jordan would score 30+ points per game. And of the eight seasons he did score 30+, 30.4 was the second lowest- how many guys would KILL for a season like that?
Another interesting piece of statistical information for you about MJ. Entering '95-'96, Jordan had made 303 of 987 attempts from beyond the arc in 10 seasons, hitting them .306% of the time.
In his 11th season, MJ hit 111 of 260, hitting treys at a clip of .427%, tied with Hubert Davis for 10th best percentage in the league.
It goes to show you why Jordan was great- even though he was the best ever, even already at that point, he worked on his weak areas until they were strengths.
With that kind of leadership and talent, it's no wonder why that Bulls had the success they did.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The season's not over, but comparisons have already begun. This one's a lot closer than Heat haters want to admit.
The question has been boiling to the service as the Miami Heat's winning streak kept growing. Now that it's over some comparisons are unavoidable. Both teams are clearly dominating the league, but lets go inside the numbers.
Win Streak: Lakers 33 games, Miami 27.
Overall Record: Lakers 69-13, Miami 56-15 (11 games left)
Big 3: Lakers (Chamberlain, West, Goodrich), Miami (James, Wade, Bosh).
Lead over closest team: Lakers 18 games ahead of the Warriors, Miami 11.5 ahead of the Knicks.
Points Per Game: Lakers 121, Miami 103.4.
Points Allowed Per Game: Lakers, 108.7, Miami 95.6.
Field Goal %: Lakers 49%, Miami 49.6%.
Computer Simulation: Gives the edge to the Lakers 54% of the time. (Got to love the age of computers)
Looks like the Lakers are the better team on paper. If these two squads went head-to-head it would be a match-up nightmare for both squads. Who does Miami put on Chamberlain? Who do the Lakers put on LeBron? Although both teams would put up big numbers the Lakers would eventually win. They'd dominate the boards and although Wade's quickness would offset some Laker offense, the big three of Los Angeles are more balanced in terms of skill sets. West, Goodrich, and Chamberlain are position players. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are hybrid players that still today don't always know their roles.
Of course, all bets are off if the Heat don't win the championship at the end of the season. If we learned nothing from the New England Patriots almost undefeated season before they lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, it's that great regular season count for almost nothing if you don't cap it off with a ring.
So it got me thinking: Who are the best one on one match-ups in NBA history?
Here are the first batlles that came to mind.
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Hakeem Olajuwon
Their match-up in the 1995 NBA Finals has been washed asunder by the tides of history, but at the time, this may have been the best duel I have ever witness. Hakeem was paying the best basketball of his career this season (in the playoffs particularly)and maybe the best stretch for any center in NBA history. Shaq led the NBA in scoring this season (29.3 ppg) and was in the midst of establishing himself as the most physically dominant center ever. In the Finals, Hakeem averaged 32.8 ppg and Shaq scored 28.0 ppg.
They played against each other 27 times, including 11 games in the playoffs of 1971 and 1972. In their first 11 meetings, Chamberlain was still able to (i.e. inclined to) score with Jabbar. In those first 11 games, Wilt averaged 22.8 ppg and 17.6 rebounds, while Kareem averaged 26.0 ppg and 15.6 rebounds.
50 ppg, 30.1 ppg over his career, 23 rebounds/game over his career, the only non-guard ever to lead the league in assists, 100 points in one game, the list goes on...Wilt was simply more dominating.
Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
This is absolutely the most exciting match-up in the current NBA, with both players battling every night for supremacy. In five playoff games (last year's NBA Finals), KD outscored LBJ 30.6 ppg to 28.6 ppg. But James dominated in every other statistical category and also won the title, by a margin of 4-1. In 11 regular season match-ups it's the same story; Durant averages 29.0 to LBJ's 28.1, "Bron Bron" has the edge in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks and has won nine of the 11 games. "Durantula" has some work to do, potentially in this years NBA Finals.
Dominique Wilkins vs. Michael Jordan
Of their era, these were the two most athletically gifted, electrifying players. WIlkins at times, looked like he almost had too much energy for his body, while MJ was always smooooooth. In 45 career games against each other, Jordan won 27 while "Nique" won 18. MJ averaged 31.6, while Wilkins poured in 29.8 as both players had almost identical stat lines. In one playoff series that the Bulls swept, Jordan averaged 34.3, 6.7 rpg, 4.3 apg to Nique's 30.0, 5.3 rpg and 3.0 apg.
Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
The significance of this rivalry isn't as much about the head to head play, though that was extremely entertaining, but about what it meant to the league- was it not old MJ versus a young version of himself? Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan played each other 8 times, four when Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls and 4 when he was with the Washington Wizards. The Lakers won 5 of those games. Across these games, Bryant scored an average of 22.8 points, while Jordan scored 24.5 points.
If you're still reading the title of this article thinking it's a misprint and you must be crazy, you're not.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: It's not a rumor. Jack Taylor of Grinnell College scored 138 points in a game last night.
It all went down in Grinnell, Iowa, during a Division III regular season matchup between Grinnell College and Faith Baptist Bible. The final score of the game was Grinnell College 179, Faith Baptist Bible 104, and Taylor's 138 points crushed the 58-year old record of points by a single player in a college game.
The previous record was set by Bevo Francis, who scored 113 points against Hillsdale in 1954. (Note: Francis had 116 in a game against a junior college but that's technically not the same level.) The only other player to score in the triple digits in college basketball history is Frank Selvy, who scored 100 in 1954, the same year Francis had his 113 point game.
By the end of the night, Taylor had shot the ball 108 times (what?!), 71 of which were threes. He finished the game 52-for-108 from the field, scoring 77% of his team's total points, which as you can see by the graphic above, is a higher percentage than both Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant scored in their career-high scoring games.
"There was a point during the second half where I hit a number of threes in a row -- maybe seven or eight -- I felt like anything I threw up was going in," Taylor said. "I've been in the zone before but I've never taken so many shots."
Let's hope he's never taken that many shots before. I didn't think it was even possible to shoot that many times in a game. And I'm not the only one. Knicks superstar, Carmelo Anthony, had this to say when he heard about Taylor's ridiculous game:
"I never heard of nothing like that. That's like a video game. How can you shoot 100 times, though?"
I guess you can shoot 108 times when the most shots another member of your team took was 6.
Taylor played 36 minutes of the game. When you do the math, the 108 shots he took was equal to one shot every 20 seconds.
The funny things is, David Larson, a player on the losing team, scored 70 in the game! He shot an incredible 34-44 from the field and no one even knows his name today.
But everyone now knows Jack Taylor, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Kobe reportedly found out about Taylor's scoring spree last night and made some pretty funny commentary to ESPNLosAngeles.com Lakers correspondent, Dave Mcmenamin.
"That's amazing," Bryant said. "He must have been wearing the Mambas, man. Only Mambas have no conscious [sic] to shoot the ball like that. If you score 138 points, you kind of have a license to tell people to f--- off."
Even NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant tweeted, "Jack Taylor you deserve a shot of Jack Daniels after that performance lol...wow."
In that case, congratulations from Hoopsvibe on getting your license, Jack Taylor. Now listen to KD and go enjoy yourself a shot of Jack Daniels.
Recently, I noticed that fans are questioning if Michael Jordan played in a watered down era. The question has been posed time and time again. I do not understand why it gets brought up in the first place. Seriously? WTF? Dude. Stop it. I bet the question came up as a statement when Jordan was dominating the NBA. I would not be surprised if it came from an old timer during Bill Russell’s era. I am shaking my head at this garbage. Today, the question became a meme. Are you trying to discredit Michael with the question?
No Boston Celtic made the final three to determine the best player according to the criteria. Cheer up Celtic fan, Magic Johnson did not make it either. Even though Kareem is bitter as hell, Wilt is resting, and Jordan is enjoying people rip on his outfits, they all have a good case to be the ultimate NBA player. Hold up. Magic and Bird did not make it despite dominating the 1980s? Yep, you got it. There was no joking around when the GOAT requirements were made.
The Chicago Bulls becoming the number one team, record wise, reveals a quantum leap this season and ramifications for the future. Not many people are examining the Bulls massive improvements – they practically flew over the Atlantic Ocean without breaking a sweat. Imagine predicting that the Bulls would be the number one team with the best defense before the season started. Imagine that. People laugh, mock, wants some weed that you smoked, and then label you a Bulls homer. That is why some of us should say, “We’ll see.”
This is the most ridiculous thing I heard coming out from these arguments. Discrediting Derrick Rose is one thing, but to completely dismiss the award just because people do not agree with your assessments is another. This is flat out stupid. Why did people pick out this year to bring this up again? This was echoed with Steve Nash’s awards and probably with Allen Iverson’s. Is this what it has come down to?