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Michael Jordan 1988: 59pts Vs. Detroit Pistons on CBS





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Uploaded on Aug 7, 2006

This is the single most important game of the modern basketball era. Also, it kept solidifying the fact that MJ saved his best for the best teams. MJ rarely cared to score big against poor teams unless he had to since it was a chance to get the team to play. In MJ's first 19 games vs. Detroit, he averaged 36ppg including a 61pt spanking the year before (a game I also have edited on After this 59pt game on national TV on Easter Sunday in front of a record crowd at Detroit, the Pistons' coach Daly had enough. He vowed never to let MJ beat them again. Born was the beginning of the most awesome defense ever - "The Jordan Rules". The basics of the defense were to 'funnel MJ to the middle so the big guys could knock him on his butt'. But, the defense was so specific that there was a rule for what to do wherever MJ had the ball. Go here:

The "Jordan Rules" went on to revolutionize the game - making defense win championships. The Pistons went on to win two titles and their 'bruiserball' defense on Jordan forced the NBA to invent the flagrant foul. The Knicks and the Heat copied this football style and soon, the league's scoring plummeted. MJ, still scoring 30+ ppg was unaffected with his insane skills but the league itself couldn't score. We saw in the 90s, slow games with teams scoring just 60 points each with no one able to make any shots. After MJ retired, the NBA tinkered with the rules to get scoring back up and today, we are still seeing this tinkering with the shortened half-court clock, the lax hand-checking rules, the illegal step-in defense for centers and so forth. MJ is responsible for all this.

I remember this game vividly. Few NBA games were on national TV so the ads building this game's drama were strong. We knew MJ and the Pistons already hated each other. The Pontiac Silverdome had a record crowd. What was MJ going to do? Well, all he did was go 21-27 for 59. But, the real key was that he won the game on two clutch defensive stops - a block and steal on Zeke - to make sure his 59 didn't go to waste. MJ's jumper was laser-like here and I remember actually being upset that he was so 'on' since that would mean he would be driving less. I wanted to see more acrobatic shots. But, that's just being a selfish fan. Enjoy The Master becoming 'The Master'.

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