During M.J.’s prime (age 28-35) the Bulls won 58 of 69 home playoff games. In these seven post-seasons just two franchises won multiple times in Chicago. Barkley’s Suns outscored the Bulls by an average of 114-110 in the three Finals contests in The Windy City. Also Shaq and Penny won two games including the close-out Game 6 on the road during their run to The Finals in ’95. Ten of the eleven losses were decided by margins of 10 or fewer (or in OT). The eleventh should go down in Bizarro World history….
Game 2 of the 1992 Eastern Finals was played between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls on May 21 in The Madhouse on Madison Street. Michael and Co. were coming off a comfortable Game 1 victory and were heavy favorites to repeat as world champs that year. Well, Lenny Wilkens had a plan. His squad came out like a Blitzkrieg on the Bulls and held them without a field goal for the first 8 minutes of the game. The rout was on! Craig Ehlo (4 steals) and Mark Price (23 points on 9 shots) were such studs that they high-jacked the “Jordan highlight reel” on YouTube.
Cleveland won by 26, handed Jordan his worst home playoff loss ever and stole home-court advantage for the series. Craig Ehlo and Mike Sanders had put the Cavs in the driver’s seat to the NBA Finals thanks to their harassment of #23. He could score only 20 points on 22 shots while committing 6 turnovers.
The Cavs wouldn’t get this far in the playoffs for another 15 years and we know where the franchise is today. If you’re a Cleveland fan keep space in your memory bank for Price, Daugherty, Nance, Ehlo and Sanders* because for one beautiful night in ’92 they provided all the hope a fan could need.
*Here is the full cast of characters… http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199205210CHI.html