Chicago Bulls

This Date in NBA History (April 20): Michael Jordan drops an NBA playoff record 63 points vs. Celtics at Boston Garden in 1986 and more

On April 20, 1986, Michael Jordan erupted for an all-time NBA playoff record of 63 points at the Boston Garden against the eventual champions in the Celtics.

It was Game 2 of the first-round series in the 1986 NBA Playoffs between the Celtics and the Chicago Bulls. After playing in just 18 regular-season games that year due to a left foot injury, Jordan had already dropped 49 points in the 123-104 Game 1 blowout loss. Although the Bulls lost Game 2, 135-131, it was a different story.

Not only did Jordan score more but he forced two overtime sessions out of a Celtics squad that had gone 40-1 at home that season and won a total of 67 games, one shy of their franchise record.

Playing 53 of a possible 58 minutes, Jordan shot 22-for-41 (53.7%) from the field and 19-for-21 (90.5%) while also recording six assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

While he did impress plenty with this performance, he received massive praise from one of the best players on the Celtics and the reigning three-time league MVP Larry Bird.

"I didn't think anyone was capable of doing what Michael has done to us," Bird said. "He is the most exciting, awesome player in the game today. I think it's just God disguised as Michael Jordan."

Other notable events on March 20

  • In 1988, John Stockton dished out 21 assists in a 112-106 win over the LA Clippers and Magic Johnson dished out 23 in a 114-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
  • In 1994, Shaquille O'Neal scored 53 points (22-for-31 FG, 9-for-13 FT) in a 121-101 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 36 minutes of play, he also finished with 18 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.
  • In 1999, the Washington Wizards' Otis Thorpe became the 16th player ever to register 15,000 points and 10,000 rebounds in an 83-77 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
  • In 2002, with an 89-86 Game 1 victory over the Utah Jazz in the first round, the Sacramento Kings recorded their first victory in a series opener since 1980-81, when the Kansas City Kings defeated Portland in Game 1 of a best-of-three first-round matchup.
  • In 2003, Allen Iverson dropped a season-high 55 points (21-for-32 FG, 3-for-5 3P, 10-for-11 FT) in Game 1 of the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round matchup against the New Orleans Hornets. In 46 minutes of action, Iverson also finished with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals in a 98-90 win.

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