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The ’95-’96 Bulls are widely regarded as the best team in NBA history. They managed to win their 4th NBA title led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson. Even if winning a fourth title with that trio wasn’t enough, it wasn’t the most impressive record at that moment in time.

The 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls went a then-record 72-10, playing stifling defense and completely running riot on the league all season long. They also managed to make the NBA Finals against a very talented Seattle Supersonics team that featured lob master Shawn Kemp and Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton. Needless to say, it didn’t end in the Sonic’s favor.

Now imagine if the 72-10 Chicago Bulls managed to face every NBA Finals champion from 1999 until 2020, what would the Bulls record be? It is time to analyze the matchups and victories between the Bulls and every NBA Champion, starting with the 1998-1999 Spurs and ending with the 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors.

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 1998-1999 San Antonio Spurs

The 1998-1999 Spurs were a heck of a team. They had two superstar bigs in David Robinson and Tim Duncan, and a genius coach in Gregg Popovich. The Spurs had a legitimate big three to challenge the ’96 Bulls squad.

The Bulls normally had trouble with offensively gifted big men, and Duncan and Robinson would have a strong series against the Bulls frontcourt. Luckily, Rodman is not a complete pushover and will provide enough defense to bother both the bigs and prevent them from carrying the Spurs for long stretches at a time.

Pippen would hold his own, but MJ will be the best player in the series. Toni Kukoc will also be the third-best player for the Bulls, coming up big with key baskets in Game 6.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers

This would be an interesting one to watch, as this Lakers team featured a young Kobe Bryant who was a great player but not the Kobe Bryant we all need just yet. As a result, this would fall in the Bulls favor.

Kobe would play with extreme dedication and desire to match up with Jordan, but he just wasn’t at that level yet. MJ would own Kobe in this one, and would probably average over 30 PPG which he is accustomed to doing in the NBA Finals. Shaq would also be a dominant machine, putting up huge numbers and snatching a game for the Lakers.

But Jordan would be too good for anyone on the floor, and Rodman would do just enough to bother Shaq and help the Bulls take the title in 5 games.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-1

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2000-2001 Los Angeles Lakers

Things start to get interesting now, as Kobe Bryant has become one of the best players in the league and a very dominant scorer. Shaq now has a running buddy that is close to his level, if not matches him just yet. Kobe would make this series very interesting, especially as the series goes on, but MJ and the experienced Bulls would take this one eventually.

The Bulls would win game 1, while the Lakers snatch game 2. They would split hairs again in game 3 and 4, but MJ would let loose the final 2 games without forcing a game 7. Rodman would do his best on Shaq, while Pippen and MJ would bother Kobe as much as possible. What makes the difference in this series is that the Bulls had a strong big three, and they would manage to overcome the Lakers dynamic duo.

Final Result: Bulls win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2001-2002 Los Angeles Lakers

This would be the ultimate test for the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe and Shaq were the two best players in the world at this time, and it wasn’t even close. This is the year they won their third straight NBA title and the turning point in Kobe’s already legendary career.

This would be a tight series, as Kobe is a stronger player and much more dominant offensively. Shaq was also a force of nature, completing his three-year run as an MVP and Finals MVP candidate. But the Bulls had MJ, a near-perfect basketball player, and the likes of Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman backing him up. The Bulls simply had a better defense, and that would give them the edge in 7 games.

Kobe and Shaq would probably average 30 PPG, but MJ would have himself a legendary series by being the top scorer and winning Finals MVP in a dominant Game 7 performance.

Final Result: Bulls win 4-3

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2002-2003 San Antonio Spurs

The ’02-’03 Spurs were a very good team during this time. They had plenty of depth, and 2 All-NBA big men in Duncan and Robinson. This Spurs team will be very difficult to beat in any era, especially when the likes of Manu Ginobili is coming off the bench.

But the Bulls had more scoring ability and possibly a better defense. This Spurs team were tough defensively, played together, and built their system off of Duncan and Robinson. The Bulls has Dennis Rodman, arguably the best defender and rebounder of all time, and he will be key in bothering Duncan in this one. Not to mention, MJ will have a field day no matter who guards him.

Once again, MJ is too good and the Bulls will win the first 3 games before snatching the last one in Game 5.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-1

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons were widely regarded as underdogs against the Los Angeles Lakers, who had acquired Karl Malone and Gary Payton to join Kobe and Shaq. The Pistons were a great defensive team and were the epitome of team play and unselfishness. In many ways, the Pistons played like a better team in comparison to the Lakers.

But the result would still end in the Bulls favor. MJ and Pippen would be the two best players in the series, and that is what will give Chicago the edge. Jordan will put forth an unbelievable Finals MVP performance, and Pippen would be right behind him. Big Ben Wallace is limited offensively, so Dennis will slow down Rasheed Wallace as much as possible. Neither Prince nor Hamilton can stop Jordan, and Bulls win in 5.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-1

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2004-2005 San Antonio Spurs

Once again, the Bulls and Spurs would meet in the Finals. This time, the Spurs have a more deadly Manu Ginobili and a prime Duncan and Parker. They would be a tougher matchup than in the first meeting.

Duncan will be a handful of usual, and Rodman will have to spend all his energy slowing him down. Parker will also do his best to get Manu going in this one, as his contributions will be sorely needed and he will have a good series.

But the result is the same. MJ is the best player in the series and will outperform Duncan and Parker. MJ will average above 30 points in the series and win Finals MVP as the Bulls win in 6 games.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2005-2006 Miami Heat

The 05-06 Miami Heat were a very good team, and Dwyane Wade has one of the most legendary Finals performances in NBA history. But he would not be able to match the experience and dominance of Michael Jordan, who is the undisputed number one shooting guard ever.

The Heat relied on Wade for the majority of the series, although Shaq was still a 20-10 player and relieved Wade at times. But the Heat were not an all-time great team like the Bulls were, and MJ would end this one in 4.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-0

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2006-2007 San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs once again run into the Bulls in another Finals appearance.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-1

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs 2007-2008 Boston Celtics

This would be a joy to watch. The Celtics Big 3 along with Rajon Rondo would be a tough matchup for the Bulls. Pierce, Allen, and KG get it done on both ends and they have a great coach on their side.

What will decide this series is an MJ game-winner in Game 2 to go up 2-0. If the Celtics managed to win game 2, anything could have happened really. But the Bulls will win the first two games due to Jordan’s hot shooting and the Bulls pressure defense on Pierce and KG. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Allen would not have his range in the first two games and that will be enough for the Bulls to close it in 6. The Celtics are a great team, but MJ would be too good in this one.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2008-2009 Los Angeles Lakers

The redemption Lakers featuring a prime Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol might be the best Lakers team since the Kobe-Shaq Lakers. They had plenty of depth, great coaching, and a very hungry and driven Kobe.

As a result, this one goes 7 games. Kobe will simply not allow his team to get run over by the Bulls and will do his best MJ imitation act. Prime Kobe was truly an all-around great player, without any weakness. So he will manage to even up MJ all series long in scoring and on the defensive end. Pau and Bynum will also prove difficult for Rodman to handle on plenty of occasions.

But in Game 7, when it matters most, what will separate the teams is Michael Jordan’s efficiency. Jordan was bigger than Kobe and more efficient, and the Bulls will have enough to outscore the Lakers in Game 7. Kobe would go through a relatively inefficient shooting night, and the Bulls will capitalize on it to win it 4-3.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-3

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2009-2010 Los Angeles Lakers

This Lakers team was also very good, and much of the core from the previous year is intact. As a result, the outcome is the same. MJ is simply too efficient offensively, and Pippen is the better role player to MJ than anyone on the Lakers. Kobe will do his thing, of course, rising to the occasion against his idol, but MJ will be a tad better.

Pippen will have himself a great series, and the Bulls will not allow this one to get to Game 7. Finals MVP MJ and a terrific Scottie Pippen end this one as quickly as possible, leaving a frustrated Kobe Bryant and Lakers team wondering what went wrong.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs take one game due to Dirk’s unbelievable talent as a scorer, but that will all they would be able to get out of this one.

The Bulls will have no problem slowing down most of the Mavericks, barring Nowitzki, and MJ will have no problem getting his point total higher and higher each game. Rodman will need to put forth a Herculean effort to slow down Dirk, who will do his best to keep his team alive.

But MJ and Pippen are too good of a duo, and Jordan’s offensive especially is the reason they end this one in 5 games. Nobody expected the Mavericks to really have a chance and they never did.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-1

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2011-2012 Miami Heat

This one would be an absolute fight. Prime and hungry LeBron James might be the best version of LeBron, and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh give the Heat plenty of firepower to counter Pippen and Rodman. Therefore, this one goes to 7 games.

James will not care who is defending him and will put his head down to attack every possession. Wade will do his best to keep up with MJ, and Bosh would put pressure on Rodman all series long. Talent-wise, this one is actually very close. But once again, Jordan is the most clutch player in the series and the best overall player in the game. MJ will hit clutch buckets in Game 7, taking down a very tough Big Three led by LeBron James.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-3

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2012-2013 Miami Heat

The Bulls not only have to deal with the Heat Big Three in this one but also one that added sharpshooter and clutch performer Ray Allen to the squad. For the Bulls to win this one, they need to slow down LeBron James as much as possible and force others to beat them.

And that is what they will do, forcing the likes of Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh to be the main scoring options. Pippen and MJ will completely focus their efforts on defending LeBron James, while Rodman will have to make sure no easy shots are there for Bosh or Allen. The result will end in 2 straight victories for the Bulls before MJ closes this in 6. Another virtuoso performance by Michael Jordan in this one, this time on the defensive end.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs

This Spurs team was very great, even if Duncan was older. They still had their core intact, except with a near-prime Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs would be a very tough matchup for any team in history, and the Bulls will have to fight tooth and nail each game in this one.

But Duncan and Parker’s age will start to show just enough for the Bulls to take advantage. Pippen would be a beast defensively and would take over the series with his playmaking. Gregg Popovich will know how to trap MJ and force other players to make shots, but Pippen’s aggressiveness and court awareness will be pivotal. Rodman will also have a great series, managing an older Tim Duncan and a younger Kawhi Leonard very well.

MJ wins Finals MVP of course, but Pippen and Rodman would be exceptional in this one.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have a very nice team built on three-point shooting and defense. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would do their damage from deep, while Draymond and Rodman will have scrappy battles as they fight for the ball each possession. The hot three-point shooting will get the Warriors a win in Game 1, but Phil and the Bulls will make adjustments.

MJ will stifle Curry for three straight games, forcing him into poor shooting nights in Games 2, 3, and 4. Of course, the Bulls will win these games. Klay will do his best to keep the Warriors in the game, but MJ and Pippen will be too dominant and end this one in five. This series will be decided by Phil Jackson’s excellent defensive adjustments and MJs offensive output.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-1

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James most probably etched his name onto Mt. Rushmore with this victory. He managed to lead the Cavs over the 73-9 team led by Stephen Curry. LeBron had an incredible Kyrie Irving and a terrific Kevin Love on his side, not to mention three-point snipers and defensive specialists on the squad.

Kyrie would manage to even up Scottie’s production as a whole, which would make this series very interesting. They would split the first four games, but MJ would not let this one go to Game 7. He would take turns slowing down Kyrie, while Rodman will have to handle LeBron and Love as well. Pippen will be the designated LeBron James defender and will do an admirable job. James will still lead his team in almost all statistics, but his clutch gene will come into question yet again when MJ makes the big shots and Kyrie is stifled.

Bulls win in 6 in a hotly competitive contest.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-2

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors

Out of all the Finals series, we would want to watch, besides the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, this one would be it. The 2016-2017 Warriors featured arguably the two best shooters ever in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and a top-20 all-time player in Kevin Durant. Not to mention, the Warriors still had defensive specialist Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala on the squad. The Warriors are incredibly deep, and it is amazing how any team could have kept up with them this year.

This one will be a very long series, mainly because KD frees up a lot of space for Klay to get going from deep. Jordan will defend Curry most of the time, and Rodman will have to contest a lot of Klay’s jump shots. KD will have himself a great series in this one, averaging 30 points per game.

But the Bulls will turn it on in Game 7 once again. MJ will manage to shut Curry off once again, while Pippen forced Durant into a relatively inefficient night. With this slight advantage, the Bulls will capitalize and the shooters will manage to get open thanks to Pippen and Jordan’s playmaking. In many ways, the shot-making of Kukoc and Kerr will be pivotal in this series.

Jordan wins Finals MVP in an exhausting series that lasts 7 games.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-3

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2017-2018 Golden State Warriors

The rematch with the Warriors will go the same way. KD and Steph get hot early on in the series and keep this series alive until Game 7.

But Game 7 will be all Chicago, thanks to Jordan’s offense, and they will have a very efficient night shooting the ball. Pippen will produce a near triple-double, Kukoc will find his rhythm, and Rodman will dominate the board. Just when everyone needed to play well, the Bulls will manage to have everyone on their game to win Game 7.

Michael Jordan’s leadership in this one cannot be denied, and his killer instinct and aggressive play will stifle Curry and Durant in this one.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-3

 

1995-1996 Chicago Bulls vs. 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors

Kawhi Leonard had an amazing series, and the Raptors are truly a very good team. They had plenty of experience, All-Star talent thanks to a great GM, and a great coach. But they could not match up to the Bulls, who had more talent on paper and in reality. Pippen was better than Lowry or Gasol, and Rodman would be a thorn in Siakam’s side.

Kawhi Leonard played a lot like MJ this past season, but he is not quite MJ. Jordan would have no problem getting his buckets, and the Bulls are built to handle tough defensive teams who play as a team. As a result, Phil Jackson will know how to bother Kawhi as much as possible and free up MJ for good looks. This one ends in a sweep.

Final Result: Bulls Win 4-0

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