Originally Posted by Loki
I saw your posts saying that he didn't "shut him down," but I ask you: what are the implications of Air Seth's post (which you agreed with and later defended), which stated "I guess you forgot what KJ did to Jordan in the '93 Finals, then." What did he do, exactly? Hold him to 39 ppg on 49% shooting? Does that jibe with the tone of that quote?
You think it's a coincidence that Jordan's one sub-50% shooting game of the series (52.5% in the series excluding that game) came in a triple-OT thriller? Think it's a coincidence that he finished
game 3 hitting just 6 of his last 20 shot attempts after going 13-23 from the floor against KJ
through the first 3 quarters? And at least 9-10 of those 20 shots came in the final 2 OT's. Fatigue played a huge role, as much as you'd like to think otherwise.
How is 39 ppg on 49% not "at will"?
And I never said that Jordan constantly took KJ off the dribble (how could he when, on top of KJ being 5" shorter, he was handchecking/pushing Jordan on most of his drive attempts?), only that he did so "occasionally."
No, I definitely disagree with him on that count (about the series being in question). I was talking about KJ's performance vs. Jordan specifically, where he has taken a measured stance which is respectable. His stance does not have the same implications that Air Seth's original post (the one that you defended) does.
My point about the fatigue, though, is that most players' legs become tired in the fourth quarter and overtime, and their jumpers start missing. That's where they have to take the ball to the basket, but K.J. curtailed that option for Jordan, forcing Air to shoot jumpers instead. K.J.'s defense forced Jordan into lower percentage shots, especially given the time of the game. Also, even in Game Six, Jordan "only" shot .500 from the field, which was below his usual .520-.530-and-up range in the NBA Finals to that point.
Regarding Jordan's driving game, K.J. may have used hand-checking (a legal maneuver back then and a tactic that Jordan also employed), but the main reason for his success in that area was his ability to move his feet and employ his lateral quickness.
And again, overall Jordan scored consistently on K.J., but not quite as consistently as he had against others in the NBA Finals in the early nineties. Whether shooting a bit below 50% constitutes "at will" scoring merely depends on one's perspective and the relative context. The point is that Jordan was a machine either way, but K.J. made that machine hum at a slightly lower roar, thus giving the Suns a chance to win the series. There's no way that K.J. could turn off the machine, of course. As I said, it's like the Bill Russell-versus-Wilt Chamberlain matchup: make the superstar work a little harder for his points and hunker down everywhere else.
As for the series being in question, we may be looking at it from different angles, but you have to admit that it came within an eyelash of a Game Seven in Phoenix. The Suns were leading 98-94 with less than a minute left in Game Six and 98-96 under ten seconds. If the Suns hang on there and go to a Game Seven at home (and the Bulls were clearly tired), then who knows what happens.