Michael Jordan had favorite victims during his career, unleashing all his power when he faced certain teams. It's far to say that the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of his favorite rivals, and his numbers against them confirm that.
Jordan's magical story in the playoffs started during his very first season, when he clashed with the Milwaukee Bucks, showing flashes of the superstar he'd become in a couple of years. Moreover, he also tried to get past the all-powerful Boston Celtics in the following seasons, but it wasn't until he faced the Cavaliers that things took a different dimension.
In the 1988 NBA playoffs, His Airness clashed with the Cavs in the first round. We are convinced that he took things personally and decided he had to tear Cleveland apart every game. MJ scored 229 points in five games, beating a Cavaliers team that had no response against him.
MJ boasted an impressive 45 points per game during that series. He also collected 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.8 steals, and 1.6 blocks per outing, while shooting 55.9% from the field and 91.8% from the free-throw line.
He did everything on the court. That was the year where he won the NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, so you know he was on a mission that season. It was a hard-fought series for the Bulls, but having Jordan with them was a big advantage.
Unfortunately, they were eliminated in the next round by the Detroit Pistons, their biggest rivals in the late 80s and early 90s.
Jordan would face the Cavaliers again the next season, and the development was quite similar. He recorded 39.8 points during the series, grabbing 5.8 rebounds, dishing 8.2 assists, averaging 3.0 steals per game and 0.8 blocks. This series was memorable for MJ, as it was the one where he called game with the unforgettable 'The Shot' over Craig Ehlo.
Jordan had big moments against the Cavs, and one of the most memorable shots of his career happened against them. Still, that didn't matter for Cleveland fans who gave him a huge ovation when he attended the 2022 All-Star Game last Sunday. That's the Jordan effect and not even his rivals are safe from that.