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AP Was There: Jordan scores 63 in double OT loss to Celtics

San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune
 2022-01-17

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Michael Jordan scores 63 points in a 135-131 double-overtime playoff loss to the Boston Celtics. Jordan broke records held by Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy and Wilt Chamberlain. But Jordan couldn’t stop Boston from making its own bit of history. The Celtics tied a single-season league record of 33 consecutive home victories, including playoffs, set by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1949-50. Boston wound up sweeping the playoff series in three games. The Associated Press is republishing verbatim the story on Jordan's 63-point game in the playoff loss on April 20, 1986:

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History was made at historic Boston Garden.

By scoring 63 points Monday, the most ever in a National Basketball Association playoff game, Chicago's Michael Jordan broke records held by Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy and Wilt Chamberlain.

But the exceptional Jordan couldn't stop Boston from making its own bit of history.

The Celtics tied a single-season league record of 33 consecutive home victories, including playoffs, set by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1949-50.

“Fifty points, 49 points, 63 points, I just want to win again,” Jordan said after the Celtics edged the Bulls, 135-131, in double overtime. “The points don't mean anything to me.”

Boston leads the best-of-five playoff series 2-0 and the Bulls return home for Wednesday night's third game knowing that 112 points by Jordan, 48 percent of the team's total in the first two games, weren't enough.

“With the way we played, we can't be down,” said Jordan, who had 49 points in Thursday night's 123-104 loss. “This was the best game we played all year.”

Despite all of the 6-foot-6 Jordan's brilliance, a less flashy guard, a 6-1 substitute who only scored eight points, made the decisive baskets while Chicago's star was missing critical shots.

“They have been taking their chances on us beating them from the outside,” Boston's Jerry Sichting said. “Fortunately, we've been making the shots.”

Sichting connected from the top of the key to put Boston ahead 129-127, then scored again from the same area with 51 seconds left in the game. That bomb gave the Celtics a 133-131 lead that neither Jordan nor his teammates could overcome.

Jordan, who missed a jumper that would have given Chicago a two-point lead with three seconds left in the first overtime, had a chance to tie the game in the second overtime when he took a routine jumper from the foul line. It also missed with 30 seconds left, and Robert Parish sealed the victory with a 10-foot jumper with nine seconds remaining.

Before Monday, Chamberlain's 62 points on Jan. 14, 1962, were the most ever scored in Boston Garden. Baylor's 61 three months after that were the most in a playoff game and Cousy's 50 in 1953 were the most in an overtime playoff game. All those feats were performed in Boston Garden.

Boston, seeking its 16th title, was led by Bird with 36 points, Kevin McHale with 27 and Danny Ainge with 24.

“There's no telling what Michael Jordan might have done in another five minutes,” Parish said. “He migth have had 90 the way he was going.”

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More on the NBA At 75: https://apnews.com/hub/nba-at-75

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .

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