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Chicago Bulls

This Date in NBA History (June 3): Michael Jordan's iconic "Shrug Game" vs. the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1992 NBA Finals & more

On June 3rd in 1992, Michael Jordan's iconic 'shrug' game led the Chicago Bulls to a comfortable 122-89 Game 1 win against the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Finals.

En route to his game-high 39 points, Jordan set NBA Finals records for points scored in a half (35) and 3-pointers made in one half (six). After the sixth 3-pointer, he turned to the midcourt TV camera and shrugged as if to say, "I guess everything's going in."

And with that shrug, this game got immortalized among Jordan's other legendary playoff games.

"Shots started dropping from everywhere," said Jordan after the game. "I started running for the 3-point line. It felt like a free throw, really."

After scoring 35 in the first half, Jordan only scored four more points as the Bulls began to race away with the game by outscoring the Trail Blazers 38-17 in the third quarter. Given Jordan's red-hot scoring burst, one might believe that's about all he did. WRONG!

Playing a total of 34 minutes, he also finished with a game-high 11 assists along with three rebounds and two steals.

Despite the margin by which they lost Game 1, the Trail Blazers fought right back and stole home-court advantage by winning Game 2 115-104. The teams then split the next two games in Portland to essentially, make it a best-of-3.

That's when the reigning NBA Champions put their championship experience to use and became the first team in the series to win the consecutive games. Thus, clinching the 1992 NBA title - their second consecutive.

Other notable events on June 3rd

  • In 1977, Bobby Gross scores 25 points while Bill Walton grabs a game-high 24 rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 110-104 Game 5 win against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Trail Blazers would go on to win their first and only NBA Championship in six games.
  • In 1984, Magic Johnson dished out an NBA Finals record 21 assists in the Lakers' 137-104 Game 3 victory in Los Angeles. However, the Celtics would go on to win the championship series in seven games.
  • In 1999, Karl Malone is named league MVP for the second time in his career. In the lockout-shortened season, he averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 49 games while leading the Utah Jazz to a league-leading record of 37-13 (tied).
  • In 2018, Stephen Curry knocked down an NBA Finals record nine 3-pointers in a 122-103 Game 2 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Notable playoff eliminations on June 3rd

  • In 2013, the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 99-76 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to book their third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
  • In 2006, the Dallas Mavericks advanced to their first NBA Finals in franchise history by defeating the Phoenix Suns 102-93 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
  • In 2001, the Philadelphia 76ers progressed to their ninth NBA Finals in franchise history and the first since 1983 by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 108-91 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference FInals.
  • In 1990, the Detroit Pistons defeated the Chicago Bulls 93-74 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and advanced to their third straight NBA Finals. This was the third straight postseason that the Pistons defeated the Bulls

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