The most memorable game ever from MJ , I remembered back when I was in college in University of Missouri at Columbia watching game 5 : Jazz vs. Bulls at my friend’s apartment with high rate of heartbeat. It was sooo tense. Can’t take my eyes off the 27inch tube. He was so courages, even the great Scottie Pippen said “He’s the greatest, and everyone saw why tonight.” Me and my friends cheered so loud (the only time it was ok to scream loud in that apartments area)
For that matter I want to show you guys the great article written by Rick Weinberg from ESPN.com:
He remembers waking up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, shaking, and feeling as if he was going to die. “I was scared; I didn’t know what was happening to me,” Michael Jordan would say.
At first, he thought it was a nightmare. Then he realized it was real, that he was seriously ill. “I felt partially paralyzed,” he would later say.
When he lifted himself up from his bed in his Utah hotel room, his head began spinning. He’d never been so nauseated before. He feared that somehow, some way, someone had slipped some kind of drug in something he ate.
It was the middle of the night in Salt Lake City, an off day between Games 4 and 5. The series was tied, 2-2, following Utah’s second consecutive win, but how in the world could Jordan play in this condition in Game 5?
Jordan called the Bulls’ medical personnel, which came rushing to his room. They determined that he was suffering from food poisoning or an intestinal stomach virus. “There’s no way you’ll be able to play Game 5,” Jordan was told.
Jordan remains in bed for the next 24 hours, missing the Bulls’ morning practices the day before and the day of Game 5. He had lost several pounds. He was dehydrated. Then, at 3 p.m., just three hours before tip-off, Jordan rose from his hotel bed and dragged himself to the Delta Center.
It’s 4:30 p.m. when Scottie Pippen sees Jordan emerge from a side door of the Delta Center. “The way he looked, there’s no way I thought he could even put on his uniform,” Pippen would say. “I’d never seen him like that. He looked bad — I mean really bad.”
Jordan sequesters himself in a dark room adjacent to the Bulls’ locker room. He slowly lies his weak body down. He closes his eyes. He visualizes himself running, shooting, passing, rebounding, dunking. Soon, he emerges from the room, staggering slowly. He puts on his uniform and walks out to the court, weak and pale. “I can play,” he tells coach Phil Jackson. “I’ll let you know how I’m feeling as the game goes on.”
As the game begins, Jordan drags himself up and down the court, running at only 65 percent of his normal speed. He is so dehydrated and fatigued that he is sure he is going to pass out any second. Halfway through the quarter, during a pause in the game, Jordan bends over to rest, pulls on his shorts, closes his eyes and nearly falls over. He has no energy whatsoever.
Later in the first quarter, during a timeout, Jordan slumps into a seat on the Bulls’ bench, his arms dangling, his shoulders sagging. “He could hardly sit up,” Chicago center Luc Longley would say.
|MJ could barely make it off the court after his 38-point performance.|
He is essentially useless in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, after Utah takes a 16-point lead, something happens to Jordan physically, emotionally and mentally. He begins running harder, running faster and making shots. Somehow, miraculously, he begins looking like the typically dominant Michael Jordan. He scores 17 points in the quarter. “It was all about desire,” he would tell the media. “Somehow I found the energy to stay strong.”
At halftime, Jordan is fed fluids and given cold towels. In the third quarter, fatigue and nausea return, dragging him down again, rendering him virtually useless. But early in the fourth quarter, when the Jazz go up, 77-69, Jordan somehow turns it on again, leading a 10-0 run that puts Chicago back on top with five minutes left.
He starts the Bulls’ burst with a 12-footer, then Toni Kukoc and Jordan both drill 3-pointers to tie the score at 77. MJ caps the run by putting the Bulls on top, 79-77, with an 18-footer over Bryon Russell. Jordan had 33 points at that stage, a staggering total for someone so ill and weak.
“In the third quarter, I felt like I couldn’t catch my wind and get my energy level up,” Jordan would say later. “I don’t know how I got through the fourth quarter. I was just trying to gut myself through it.”
With 3:07 left, John Stockton nails a three for an 84-81 Utah lead. Jordan quickly hits a runner in the lane to make it 84-83. Moments later, Jordan is fouled by Stockton. He makes the first free throw to tie the score at 85 with 46.5 seconds left, but misses the second. Kukoc, however, tips the miss, and Jordan, his instincts still amazingly sharp and his reactions still quick despite his flu-like symptoms, grabs the loose ball and sets up the offense again.
Clearly exhausted, clearly weak, Jordan looks for Pippen posting up Jeff Hornacek. MJ also looks for three-point specialist Steve Kerr, wide open in the corner. Jordan, his arms hanging like a piece of rope, makes a weak fake to Kerr, but then quickly fires a pass to Pippen. Russell quickly moves to double Pippen, 5 for 17 in the game, leaving Jordan open on the perimeter. Pippen quickly fires the ball back to Jordan. The clock shows 0:26. With Stockton’s hand right in his face, Jordan launches a shot from beyond the three-point line. The ball hits nothing but string. Bulls, 88-85. His 15th point of the quarter and his 38th of the night. “We never want to double off Michael Jordan in that situation,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan would say later.
Utah pushes the ball upcourt, and Stockton breaks down the defense and feeds Greg Ostertag for a dunk, making it 88-87 with 15.2 seconds left. The Bulls quickly inbound the ball and work the ball upcourt to Kukoc, who feeds Longley for a dunk and a 90-87 lead with 6.2 seconds remaining. One possession remains. Utah works the ball around and as the clock hits 0:01, Hornacek heaves a 3-pointer & and misses.
Jordan, who plays 23 of 24 minutes in the first half and 21 of 24 minutes in the second, doubles over, collapsing from emotion and exhaustion.
“That was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” he would say after the game. “I almost played myself into passing out just to win a basketball game. If we had lost, I would have been devastated.” Jackson was almost at a loss for words, but finally told the media, “Because of the circumstances, with this being a critical game in the Finals, I’d have to say this is the greatest game I’ve seen Michael play. Just standing up was nauseating for him and caused him dizzy spells. This was a heroic effort, one to add to the collection of efforts that make up his legend.”
After MJ’s epic performance, Pippen would say, “He’s the greatest, and everyone saw why tonight.”
Game 5: The Flu Game
|Recap||Chicago Bulls 90, Utah Jazz 88||Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
|Scoring by quarter: 16–29, 33–24, 18–19, 23–16|
|Pts: Michael Jordan 38
Rebs: Scottie Pippen 10
Asts: Jordan, Pippen 5 each
|Pts: Karl Malone 19
Rebs: Greg Ostertag 15
Asts: Karl Malone 6
|Chicago leads the series, 3–2|
Game 5, known as “The Flu Game”, was one of Michael Jordan‘s most memorable. On Tuesday, Jordan woke up nauseated and sweating profusely. He hardly had the strength to sit up in bed and was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning. The Bulls’ trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play the next day. The Jazz had just won Games 3 & 4 to tie the series at 2, and Chicago needed their leader in this crucial swing game. In the NBA Finals best-of-7 format, Game 5 is critical, since the winner would be just one game away from the NBA title. Against all odds, Jordan rose from bed at 3 p.m., just in time for the 6 o’clock tip-off at the Delta Center.
Jordan was visibly weak and pale as he stepped on the court for Game 5. At first, he displayed no energy whatsoever, and John Stockton, along with reigning MVP Karl Malone, quickly led the Jazz to a 16-point lead (36-20) in the second quarter. But Jordan started to sink shots despite lacking his usual explosive speed. He scored 17 points in the quarter as the Bulls hit the front with a furious rally before halftime. Luc Longley and Scottie Pippen did their best to keep the Bulls in the game while Jordan was fatigued in the third, but the Jazz reclaimed the lead and pushed it to 8 (77-69) early. Then MJ turned it on again, scoring 15 fourth quarter points. With 46.5 seconds left and Chicago down 85-84, he was at the free throw line. He made the first to tie the game, but missed the second. Toni Kukoc tapped the offensive rebound to Jordan, who stepped back to set up the offense. He found Pippen, who drew a double team, then passed the ball back to a now wide-open Jordan, who proceeded to hit a 3 to give the Bulls an 88-85 lead with 25 seconds left.
Chicago withstood a late Utah push and held on for a narrow victory when John Stockton missed the first of two free throws in front of the stunned crowd. Malone was the highest-scoring Jazz player with 19 points but suffered from dreadful shooting, throwing up an off-balance airball on the possession prior to Jordan’s big 3-pointer. Malone finished the second half 1-for-6 from the field. In total, Jordan played 44 minutes while being perpetually at the brink of fainting. He finished the game with 38 points including an impressive putback dunk, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. With only a few seconds remaining and the game finally in hand, Jordan collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms.[1