Michael Jordan had a knack for displaying greatness. It was in his DNA. When you look at his best performances in the NBA, some came in the most critical moments of the Finals, while others could have just been because it was Wednesday. Jordan wanted to win at all costs, which was the greatest attribute of his career.
Jordan’s scoring was a sight to see. He could do anything whenever he wanted on most nights. Scoring 40 points almost felt easy when he was on the floor. Looking back, Jordan had some special moments and we take a look at those right now. These are Jordan’s career-highs in points against every team.
Atlanta Hawks - 61 Points
Date: April 16, 1987
Stats: 61 Points, 10 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 4 Steals, 1 Block
As soon as the Hawks walked into the visiting locker room, Jordan walked into the locker room up to Randy Wittman and said a view choice words. It ended up being a long night for Wittman, who guarded Jordan as he made 22 of 38 shots from the field. It came on the heels of back-to-back 50-point outings against the Pacers and the Bucks. In the end, Dominique Wilkins had the biggest play of the night, which included the eventual go-ahead jumper with 11 seconds left. Wilkins still brings the game up to Jordan these days.
Boston Celtics - 63 Points
Date: April 20, 1986
Stats: 63 Points, 5 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 3 Steals, 2 Blocks
In the first round of the playoffs, Jordan scored his legendary 63 points in Game 2, which is the most points scored in a playoff game. Jordan’s effort came up short as the Celtics eventually swept the Bulls, but it gained the respect of Larry Bird, who had won his third straight league MVP. Bird said that Jordan was “God disguised as Michael Jordan.” The following year, Jordan became the second player, after Wilt Chamberlain, to score 3,000 points in a season.
Brooklyn Nets - 58 Points
Date: February 26, 1987
Stats: 58 Points, 8 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 3 Steals, 2 Blocks
The same season that Jordan averaged 37.1 points per game, the Bulls dominated this matchup. The Bulls led by 21 points at halftime and the crowd was urging Jordan to push for 60 points. Jordan could have made it had he not been asked to leave the game with three minutes left. The highlight of the night came with Jordan making 19 consecutive free throws in the third quarter.
Charlotte Hornets - 52 Points
Date: March 11, 1993
Stats: 52 Points, 9 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Block
In 43 minutes of action, Jordan made 21 of 35 shots from the field. That also included making 8 of 9 shots at the free-throw line in a 123-108 win over the Hornets. The Bulls moved to 42-19 on the season, while the Hornets dropped to 32-28. To put into perspective how great Jordan played, Alonzo Mourning, Dell Curry, and Kendall Gill combined scored 56 points.
Chicago Bulls - 29 Points
Date: January 3, 2002
Stats: 29 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 0 Steals, 1 Block
Given that Jordan spent most of his career in Chicago, he didn’t have many opportunities to score on the team until later in his career. Jordan led the Wizards past the Bulls 89-83 despite a tough shooting night. Jordan made just 9 of 24 shots from the field with five turnovers. It was Jordan’s first game ever against Chicago and the Bulls dropped to 6-25 with the loss at the time.
Cleveland Cavaliers - 69 Points
Date: March 28, 1990
Stats: 69 Points, 18 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 4 Steals, 1 Block
After the game, Jordan was asked if he was tired and he said that he doesn’t think about being tired because “I wanted to win the game.” Jordan torched the Cavaliers and put on a show in from of 20,273 fans. Jordan dropped a career-high 69 points, which was the ninth-highest individual point total in NBA history at the time. He also grabbed 18 rebounds in 50 minutes of action. His quarter by quarter breakdown was 16 in the first, 15 in the second, 20 in the third, 10 in the fourth, and eight in overtime.
Dallas Mavericks - 43 Points
Date: April 7, 1990
Stats: 43 Points, 3 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Block
Jordan put up 43 points on 15 of 26 shooting from the field. He also shot 3 of 5 from the three-point line. It was a very close contest as the Bulls narrowly defeated the Mavericks 109-108. The Mavericks outscored the Bulls in 33-23 in the final quarter to make a rally but came up just short in the end.
Denver Nuggets - 52 Points
Video Link: None
Date: November 26, 1988
Stats: 52 Points, 11 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks
Jordan had a brilliant shooting display from the floor. Jordan shot 70% from the field, making 19 of 27 shots taken. He also added 11 rebounds and seven assists in what could have been a magnificent triple-double had he dished out three more assists. Despite the strong effort from Jordan, the Bulls came up short 128-123.
Detroit Pistons - 61 Points
Date: March 3, 1987
Stats: 61 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 3 Steals, 3 Blocks
Jordan scored 61 points against the Pistons in a regular season matchup that saw the Bulls come out on top 125-120. The Bulls were battling the Pistons for the best record in the East at the time. Jordan was able to beat his rival Isiah Thomas, and nearly double his point total as Thomas finished with 31 points himself. Jordan made 22 of 39 shots, as well as 17 of 18 at the free-throw line.
Golden State Warriors - 49 Points
Date: November 24, 1992
Stats: 49 Points, 5 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block
The most points scored by Jordan was in 1992 at Golden State. Jordan shot 18 of 30 from the field, including 12 of 14 at the free-throw line. He also added five rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block in 44 minutes in the 101-92 win. Jordan was able to outduel Chris Mullin, who finished the game with 32 points, while Tim Hardaway added 29 points.
Houston Rockets - 45 Points
Date: January 18, 1998
Stats: 45 Points, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 3 Steals, 1 Block
In a close 106-100 win over the Rockets, the Bulls used 45 points to push past 35 points scored by Charles Barkley. Jordan made 16 of his 29 shots, including 11 of 12 attempts at the free-throw line. Both teams were very efficient from the floor with both teams shooting over 50% from the field.
Indiana Pacers - 53 Points
Date: April 12, 1987
Stats: 53 Points, 4 Rebounds, 8 Assists, 4 Steals, 2 Blocks
Both the Pacers and the Bulls were fighting to get to .500. The Pacers were around 39-39, while the Bulls were 38-40. With a 116-95 win over the Pacers, the Bulls were able to get to one game below .500 on the season. The Bulls needed a big game from Jordan, who made 19 of 27 shots, as well as 15 of his 18 free throws. Jordan’s eight assists led the team in a night where the Bulls shot over 50% from the floor.
Los Angeles Clippers - 49 Points
Date: November 21, 1997
Stats: 49 Points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block
Jordan’s best performance against the Clippers came on the heels of “The Last Dance.” Jordan was phenomenal despite playing into his mid-30s. By the end of the season, he won his fifth MVP. Jordan played 52 minutes and scored 49 points to lead the Bulls over the Clippers in double overtime which saw the game without Scottie Pippen in the lineup.
Los Angeles Lakers - 54 Points
Date: November 20, 1992
Stats: 54 Points, 13 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 1 Steal, 3 Blocks
Jordan’s jumper was unstoppable as was him going to the basket. It seemed like the only person who could truly guard him was himself. Jordan made the blooper reel when he recorded a steal and fumbled the ball out of bounds as he went up for a trademark dunk. Unfortunately, the night was ruined in overtime when the Lakers won 120-118.
Memphis Grizzlies - 33 Points
Date: December 18, 2002
Stats: 55 Points, 5 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals, 0 Blocks
Just one game after scoring a career-low two points at Toronto, Jordan scored season highs in back-to-back games, including a 33-point game against the Grizzlies. After the game, Jordan said that everyone looked at him like he was 50 years old after the Toronto game, which fired up his competitiveness. It was something that happened the previous season when he scored six points, ending a streak of 866 straight double-digit games, and followed it up with 51 and 45 points the next two games.
Miami Heat - 56 Points
Date: April 29, 1992
Stats: 56 Points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 4 Steals, 2 Blocks
The Heat took an 18-point lead and that was enough for Jordan to take over completely. Jordan scored zero points in the first 10 minutes of action, but then scored 56 points for the final parts of the game to help the Bulls clinch the first-round playoff sweep. Jordan’s point total tied the third-highest in playoff history. With the loss, the Heat fell to 0-17 against the Bulls at the time.
Milwaukee Bucks - 50 Points
Date: February 16, 1989
Stats: 50 Points, 8 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 3 Steals, 0 Blocks
The Bulls needed every point from his game-high 50 to barely beat the Bucks 117-116. Jordan scored 27 of his 50 points in the fourth quarter, including a 20-foot jumper with one second remaining on the clock. The Bulls were battling an identity crisis as the team owned the same 27-20 record through the first 47 games as last season. The team pushed past their internal problems to pick up a huge win on the season.
Minnesota Timberwolves - 45 Points
Date: November 8, 1989
Stats: 45 Points, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals, 0 Blocks
The Bulls made quick work with the Timberwolves with a 96-84 win. Jordan scored 45 points with a perfect night at the free-throw line, where he made all 14 attempts. Jordan also made 15 of 24 shots. Jordan completely took over in this game, as the second-best scorer on the team was Stacey King with 13 points.
New York Knicks - 55 Points
Date: March 28, 1995
Stats: 55 Points, 9 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks
Jordan’s best play of the game fooled the crowd and didn’t involve him shooting. Jordan scored 20 points in the first quarter, hitting 9 of 11 shots, but the Knicks held a 34-32 lead. The Knicks then built a 56-50 halftime lead, but Jordan added 15 more points in the second quarter. Jordan then had 49 points by the end of the third quarter with the two teams tied at 82. With the game tied 111-111, Jordan’s best play of the night wasn’t a basket, but a pass to Bill Wennington to give the Bulls a 113-111 advantage and eventual win.
New Orleans Pelicans - 45 Points
Date: February 1, 2003
Stats: 45 Points, 3 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block
The Wizards were without key starters Jerry Stackhouse and Larry Hughes, so Jordan carried the team to a 109-104 win over New Orleans. Jordan said that the offense he provided ignited the others and it helped change the game. By the end of the night, Jordan played 44 minutes, which was his most all season. He had also turned 40 years old earlier in the month.
Oklahoma City Thunder - 45 Points
Date: February 2, 1997
Stats: 45 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal, 0 Blocks
On a night where Jordan was the only player in double figures, the Bulls escaped Seattle with a 91-84 victory. Jordan made 19 of 28 shots from the field. At the free-throw line, it was a slow day but he made five of six shots. Gary Payton scored 24 points and tried to slow down Jordan, but he managed to put the team on his back. The second-leading scorer for the Bulls was Toni Kukoc with eight points.
Orlando Magic - 64 Points
Date: January 16, 1993
Stats: 64 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 5 Steals, 0 Blocks
Can you ever imagine scoring 64 points and losing? That is exactly how Jordan felt after the Bulls lost 128-124 in overtime to the Magic. Jordan did everything he could to get the Bulls a win. Out of the 107 team shots, Jordan took 49 of them and made 27. The second-leading scorer on the team was Scottie Pippen with 17, while Shaquille O’Neal finished with 29 points and 24 rebounds to lead Orlando.
Philadelphia 76ers - 56 Points
Date: March 24, 1987
Stats: 56 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 8 Steals, 0 Blocks
Jordan scored more than half of the Bullsregular-season points in a 93-91 victory over the 76ers. Jordan made 22 of 32 shots from the field, including 12 of 15 at the free-throw line. What sticks out the most was his defense, where he recorded eight steals. It was a great battle with Charles Barkley, who scored 17 points and added 25 rebounds, but it was Jordan that came out with the last laugh.
Phoenix Suns - 55 Points
Date: June 6, 1993
Stats: 55 Points, 8 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 0 Steals, 0 Blocks
Jordan was playing out of his mind in this series, which included multiple 40-point efforts. The Bulls won the first two games of the Finals but lost the third game. Jordan knew the importance of the situation as he exploded for 55 points on 21 of 37 shooting with eight rebounds and four assists. The Bulls took the 3-1 lead and it helped the team clinch the 1993 championship in six games.
Portland Trail Blazers - 53 Points
Date: January 7, 1987
Stats: 53 Points, 4 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 3 Steals, 2 Blocks
Jordan made a mockery out of the defense in Portland. He registered 53 points to help his Bulls beat the Trail Blazers by four points. He attempted no shots from three-point range but made 20 of his 34 shots inside the arc. Jordan also made 13 of 16 shots at the free-throw line. At 23 years old, Jordan put the league on notice that he was a true superstar.
Sacramento Kings - 49 Points
Video Link: None
Date: February 19, 1988
Stats: 49 Points, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 3 Steals, 3 Blocks
Jordan probably didn’t need to score 49 points to take care of the Kings, but he did it anyway. The Bulls blew out the Kings 111-90 in regular-season action. Jordan made 19 of his 27 shots and did not take a three-point attempt. He also made 11 of 14 shots inside the arc. Overall, the Bulls were the better team as the Kings were treading towards being 20 games below .500.
San Antonio Spurs - 45 Points
Date: November 13, 1984
Stats: 45 Points, 10 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 3 Steals, 2 Blocks
In Jordan’s rookie season, he showed the world why he could eventually become a great player. The Bulls were 6-2 at the time and entered a home game against San Antonio. Jordan recorded the first 40-point game of his career and the Bulls snuck out a 120-117 win. Jordan added 10 rebounds to make it a double-double, while he also made 8 of 11 at the free-throw line.
Toronto Raptors - 38 Points
Date: November 7, 1995
Stats: 38 Points, 4 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 4 Steals, 0 Blocks
It was just the third game of the season when Jordan torched the Raptors for 38 points. For some reason, Jordan never played very well against Canadian teams, as you can see with his performance against the Grizzlies who were based in Vancouver at the time. However, Jordan scored 38 points twice against Toronto. His best all-around game came in the 1995-1996 season when he shot 13 of 19 from the field to lead Chicago to a nine-point victory.
Utah Jazz - 47 Points
Date: December 2, 1987
Stats: 47 Points, 4 Rebounds, 9 Assists, 3 Steals, 3 Blocks
Over 10 years later, Jordan nearly beat this record with 45 points in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, but his younger days still proved true. Jordan scored 47 points by making 17 of 27 shots with 13 of 16 at the free-throw line. Playing Karl Malone was always a treat for Jordan as the two were longtime rivals. Jordan bested his 33 points and 14 rebounds with a better game to lead the Bulls to a 105-101 victory.
Washington Wizards - 57 Points
Date: December 23, 1992
Stats: 57 Points, 2 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 3 Steals, 1 Block
The Washington Bullets were a bad team that fell to 10 games below .500 with the loss. Meanwhile, the Bulls were chasing their third championship and improved to 17-7 with a 107-98 win. Jordan made 22 of his 37 shots, including one of his best outside shooting nights ever with 6 of 8 shooting from three-point range. Jordan made 7 of 8 free throws and finished the night with a double-double as he added 10 assists.