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Chicago Bulls

This Date in NBA History: Michael Jordan erupts for record-breaking 55 points vs. Washington Bullets in 1997 playoffs and more

On April 27th in 1997, Michael Jordan erupted for a season-high 55 points in Game 2 of the Chicago Bulls' first-round series against the Washington Bullets.

The Bullets led by seven (65-58) at halftime but Jordan sparked the Bulls' comeback in the second half. As the Bulls outscored the Bullets 28-15 in the third quarter, he scored all of his nine third-quarter points as part of a Bulls' 17-2 run.

Then, in the fourth quarter, he scored 20 of the team's final 23 points to help the Bulls win 109-104 and take a 2-0 series lead.

Playing 44:13 minutes, Jordan also recorded seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals while shooting 22-of-35 (62.9%) from the field and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. No other Bulls player scored more than 14 with Scottie Pippen being the second-highest scorer at 14 points.

His points tally is still the most points scored by a Bulls player at the United Center, the home court of the Chicago Bulls.

Moreover, at the time of the game, he became the oldest player in NBA playoff history to score 50 or more. This record was broken three years later by Karl Malone.

Other notable events on April 27th

  • In 1950, a 32-year-old Red Auerbach was named head coach of the Boston Celtics. Prior to this hire, he had three years of coaching experience with the Washington Capitals and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. He would go on to win nine championships as the coach of the Celtics before retiring in 1966.
  • In 1983, Johnny Moore, of the San Antonio Spurs, dished out a then-playoff record 20 assists in a 126-109 win over the Denver Nuggets. The current playoff record of 24 is jointly held by Magic Johnson and John Stockton.
  • In 1984, in a series-deciding Game 5 between the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, Bernard King scored 12 of his game-high 44 points in the final 5:12 of the fourth quarter but Isiah Thomas scored the Pistons' final 14 points in the final 1:34 of the fourth quarter to force overtime. Thomas eventually finished with 35 points but the Knicks prevailed 127-123 in overtime.
  • In 1994, a Vancouver group headed by Vancouver Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths were granted a franchise. The Vancouver Grizzlies became the 29th franchise in the league and second in Canada after the Toronto Raptors (1995-96). The Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2002.
  • In 1998, San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan is named the 1999 Rookie of the Year, earning 113 votes of a possible 116, by averaging 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.51 blocked shots in 39.1 minutes per games through all 82 games.
  • In 2000, the NBA announced that a team representing the NBA's D-League (now G-League) would be one of six teams to participate in the 2000 Asian Basketball Association League consisting of national teams like China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Notable Playoff eliminations on April 27th

  • In 2019, the Denver Nuggets defeat the San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in the first round. This was the first time since the Spurs' 22-year playoff streak began that the team bowed out of the playoffs in the first round in consecutive years.

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