March 19, 1992
In this game, the vast majority of Jordan's 51 points came from jumpers. Again this is March 1992, just one month earlier than the Miami Heat playoff game I put up two days ago in which the majority of his 46 points were from dunks and drives. When you look at the two games together, I think it's one of prime examples that demonstrates how complete a player Jordan was. Depending on his mood, he could put 50 on jumpers or on dunks.
This was the fourth consecutive road game for the Bulls. He shot 19-30 (63%) while the rest of the Bulls were 21/52 (40%). Scored 20 in the final quarter on 6-7 shooting, finished with a game-high 11 rebounds and sealed the victory with the clutch block at the end.
Another amazing fact is that despite all the pressure and ultra-high usage rate he had zero turnovers. I don't think you could find many 50+ point games without a single turnover.
Post game notes & quotes:
LANDOVER, MD. His Airness, tongue hanging, soared over, through and past a parade of defenders on the way to a record-setting 51-point performance to lead the Bulls to their eighth straight victory, a 106-100 decision over the Washington Bullets before a sellout crowd of 18,756.
Michael Jordan scored 15 points in the third period and 20 more in the final quarter, including six in the final 1:09 to seal the outcome. He finished 19 of 30 from the field and 12 of 15 from the free-throw line, made 6 of 7 field goals and 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Jordan set a record for most points by a Bullets' opponent, shattering Pete Maravich's mark of 50 set with New Orleans in 1976. He broke the record for most points by a visiting player at Capital Centre, held by Atlanta's Dominique Wilkins with 46 in 1986. His 35 points in the second half also were a record, breaking the 32 set by Rick Barry Feb. 8, 1977, and equaled by Larry Bird Jan. 27, 1988.
"He got off," Coach Wes Unseld said, "and we didn't have anybody to stop him. But we were still in it and gave ourselves a chance to win. Hell, I'm telling you that we played as well as we could. But we couldn't stop Michael Jordan. Nobody stops Michael Jordan."
Bullets guard A.J. English was Jordan's chief victim in the fourth quarter. He tried holding, pulling and grabbing. Nothing worked.
"He was unconscious, unbelievable - he was Mike," English said. "When he's on his game like that, there isn't too much you can try."
Bullets' defensive ace David Wingate, Ledell Eackles, LaBradford Smith and finally English all took turns trying to guard Jordan, who could put together a highlight reel off this one game.
"Either way, I had to step on them," Jordan said. "English is a feisty guy. He did all he could to slow me down. I like the challenge of playing against him."
Jordan isolated on the unfortunate A.J. English and dropped in an 18-foot fadeaway with 1:09 left for a three-point Chicago lead. The teams traded turnovers and the Bullets had one more chance to get closer. But English's jumper rimmed out and Jordan was fouled at 33.4 seconds.
He made both free throws to give him 49. Then he blocked Ellison's drive at the other end, was fouled, and made two more free throws.
It capped an evening in which Jordan rarely was airborne, but knocked down just about every jumper Washington conceded.
Said English: "When he's hitting the jumper, what can you do? I came in in the fourth quarter for about eight minutes, and by that time that's throwing gasoline on the fire."
"A lot of people know driving is my strongest point," Jordan said. "And supposedly my weak point is the jumper. So when I'm hitting the jump shot, what are they supposed to do? Give me the drive? But I was surprised they didn't double-team me as quickly. Knowing the coach, I thought they would."
"He has elevated us this entire trip," Bulls Coach Phil Jackson said of Jordan, who scored 40 points at New Jersey Wednesday. "His play has inspired us. We have to have that effort from him. Tonight was one of those special a la mode nights."
Jordan's point total was the highest in an NBA regulation game this season. Dominique Wilkins of Atlanta scored 52 in a double-overtime game on December 7.
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