Five Memorable Games Involving Michael Jordan and the Toronto Raptors

0
51


The Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, has united basketball fans each week for the past month.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with no live basketball on, the younger generation is seeing Jordan’s superstardom and greatness on display.

Throughout Jordan’s 15-year NBA career, he squared off against the Toronto Raptors 19 times.

Here are five memorable games featuring Michael and the Raptors:

  1. Toronto Raptors defeat Chicago Bulls 109-108 (March 24, 1996) 

Before Jordan saw Seattle Supersonics head coach George Karl in a restaurant, finding his motivation to lift the Chicago Bulls to the 1995-96 NBA championship, he lifted his team to a historical 72-10 season.

No team in NBA history had won over 70 games before the 1995-96 Bulls.

One of Chicago’s 10 losses came to the Raptors. In front of 36,000 passionate fans at SkyDome, the expansion Raptors played spoiler to one of the greatest single seasons in NBA history. Thanks to Damon Stoudamire’s 30 points and 11 assists on 52.4 percent shooting, the Raptors found a way to stymie Jordan, who put up a game-high 36 points. Despite Jordan shooting 63 percent from the field, the Raptors were able to defend Jordan in critical moments, most notably Doug Christie’s stop with the game tied at 108.

Besides the defense, the Raptors found success from three, shooting 11 threes (64.7 percent), with six coming from Stoudamire.

The Raptors only won 18 games in 1995-96, yet their most important one came against the NBA’s best player and team.

  1. Toronto Raptors defeat Chicago Bulls 97-89 (December 8, 1996) 

A defensive showdown took place on December 8, 1996, between the Raptors and the Bulls. Collectively, the Raptors held Jordan to just 13 points on 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) shooting from the field.

Despite Scottie Pippen leading the Bulls in scoring (28 points), the Raptors offense found success in the fourth quarter, limiting Chicago to 19 points.

Stoudamire had another big offensive night, putting up 31 points and 13 assists. The Raptors were able to get secondary scoring in this game, thanks to Popeye Jones (12 points), Walt Williams (18 points) and Sharone Wright (17 points).

  1. Michael Jordan’s 28th-career Triple-Double (April 14, 1997) 

Of course, it wasn’t all bad for Jordan against the Raptors. Towards the end of the 1996-97 season, Jordan put on a show against Toronto at the United Center.

The Bulls superstar’s 28th and final triple-double came on April 14, 1997, where Chicago beat the Raptors 117-100. Even Stoudamire’s double-double 29 points and 12 assists weren’t enough to stop the Bulls. Jordan put up 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists with 50 percent shooting and four made threes. His +22 on the game is second to Bulls power forward Jason Caffey (+24).

The Bulls finished with 69 wins, en route to Jordan’s fifth NBA championship.

  1. Jordan Puts on a Show in Toronto (January 18, 1996) 

Despite the Raptors holding Jordan to 20.5 points in the 19 times, he faced Toronto, the six-time NBA champion put up 38 points twice against the purple dinosaurs.

One of those instances occurred in Toronto on January 18, 1996. Despite the Raptors losing by only three points to the Bulls (92-89), Jordan took center stage. His 38 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field (14-of-28) and beyond the arc (4-of-8) lifted the Bulls over the Raptors, earning Chicago its 33rd victory of the season.

The most notable shot of the game came with 24 seconds of the fourth quarter, where Jordan hesitated and then took a step-back jumper over Alvin Robertson, scoring two of his 15 fourth-quarter points.

  1. Raptors Limit Jordan to Lowest Scoring Performance Against Toronto (December 15, 2002) 

Michael Jordan was not the same player when he played for the Washington Wizards compared to his days with the Bulls.

Despite the Raptors losing to the Wizards 95-82, Toronto held Jordan to just two points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field. Despite Jordan being past his prime, he still could play the role of facilitator, evidenced by his team-high nine assists.

The Raptors leading scorer off the bench was Lindsey Hunter (23 points), who only played one season with Toronto.