On April 20, 1986, Michael Jordan once again amazed the basketball world. “His Airness” gave the Boston Celtics 63 points in the second round of the NBA playoffs – a record to this day.
Jordan dribbled the ball exactly six times, took a deep breath and then sunk the second free throw. The new score: 116:116. time on the clock? No. So the Chicago Bulls’ second playoff game against the Boston Celtics went into overtime.
At the time, Jordan already had a whopping 54 points in the account. The then 23-year-old used the double overtime to increase his score to 63 points. A playoff fable record that still stands to this day.
Seven different Celtics players attempted to defend MJ throughout the game – none succeeded. Whether by drive, pull-up jump or simply by free throw – Jordan scored with every action.
The shooting guard showed incredible precision in 41 throw attempts: 53.7 percent of his shots found their way through the ring. “I just wanted to stand and watch him, and I was standing on the pitch,” said teammate John Paxson.
Larry Bird recognizes Michael Jordan’s achievement
As a reminder, the ’86 Celtics are still considered one of the strongest NBA teams of all time. Six Hall of Famers were on the court that night. Five of them wore the white and green jersey of the home team – Jordan was the only one in the bright red jersey of the Bulls. Celtics superstar Larry Bird said after the encounter, “I think that was God disguised as Michael Jordan.”
But the Almighty was left behind that evening. The hosts won the game 135:131.
However, as things stand today, the result would probably be different: The last free throws by Jordan in regular time were preceded by a foul by Kevin McHale. This tried to prevent Jordan from a threesome. According to the rules of the time: two free throws.
Today the “Greatest of All Time” could have thrown three times – the game would probably have ended on the spot.