Michael Jordan to Derrick Rose: Bulls' Top 4 playoff performances

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Ranking top four playoff performances in Bulls history originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Damian Lillard always seems to be on Dame Time.

He furthered his reputation for big shotmaking in big moments with a jaw-dropping 55-point performance Tuesday night in the Portland Trail Blazers’ double-overtime loss to the Nuggets, which gave Denver a 3-2 advantage in their first-round series.

To honor Lillard’s spectacular performance, in which he buried three of his NBA playoff-record 12 3-pointers in back-to-back-to-back fashion to force the second overtime, here are the top four individual performances in Bulls postseason history with a twist.

Sorry, Michael Jordan, but only one performance per player. His Airness does get the top spot, though.

Michael Jordan

April 20, 1986: Celtics 135, Bulls 131 (2 OT)

Other performances carried more significance for the franchise. “The Shot” over the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Craig Ehlo in 1989 ended years of playoff futility and began the Bulls on their dynastic quest. “The Flu Game” in a Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals epitomized Jordan's ability to reach deep with championships on the line.

But for sheer individual greatness... Well, it’s hard to top Larry Bird calling you "God disguised as Michael Jordan" after Game 2 of the first-round matchup between the Bulls and Boston Celtics in 1986.

Jordan darted and dominated in the Celtics' eventual overtime win, scoring on a dazzling array of moves. He notched an NBA playoff-record 63 points, which still stands to this day. And all this after playing just 18 games in his second professional season because of a broken bone in his foot. The legend had started to grow.

RELATED: Bird knew MJ would be GOAT after first time playing him

Scottie Pippen

June 12, 1991: Bulls 108, Lakers 101

The Bulls are nearing the 30th anniversary of their first championship, and what better performance to highlight than this one? Not only did Pippen score more than usual with 32 points, which remains tied for his Bulls-postseason-high, he added 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals in a dominant performance that underscored his importance.

Phil Jackson’s move to switch Pippen onto Magic Johnson changed the trajectory of the series after the Los Angeles Lakers stole Game 1 at the old Chicago Stadium. And Pippen was all over Johnson defensively in this series-clinching Game 5 victory.

Oh, and for the minutes police out there: Pippen played the entire game, all 48 minutes.

Joakim Noah

May 4, 2013: Bulls 99, Nets 93

All season, Noah had served as the team’s emotional leader, keeping spirits and fortunes afloat in the wake of Derrick Rose’s second straight season-ending knee injury. Noah battled injury himself, unsure if he’d even play in this first-round series because of painful plantar fasciitis.

Not only did Noah play in this decisive Game 7, he guaranteed a road victory and painted a masterpiece, posting 24 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks and, unofficially, 17 primal screams as he delighted in silencing the road crowd.

The image of Noah, who grew up in New York, walking around the court postgame looking for friends and family to share in his celebration still lingers.

Derrick Rose

April 18, 2009: Bulls 105, Celtics 103 (OT)

Start at the beginning.

Sure, Rose posted more dominant scoring games in the playoffs, including a 44-point outing to beat the Atlanta Hawks on the way to the 2011 Eastern Conference finals. And his game-winning 3-pointer to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers in 2015 capped a 30-point game.

But his debut remains his best. Rose, 20, tied a 39-year-old record for most points by a rookie in their first postseason game, originally set by Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1970.

Rose finished with 36 points and 11 assists as the Bulls stole Game 1 of this first-round matchup, setting the table for an adjective-draining, seven-game series that featured seven overtime periods. The playoff performance capped a season in which Rose won Rookie of the Year honors.

Click here to subscribe to the Bulls Talk Podcast for free.

Download

Download MyTeams Today!