1996 NBA Finals


1996 NBA Finals

NBA Finals summary


caption =
year = 1996
runnerup = Seattle SuperSonics
runnerup_coach = George Karl
runnerup_games = 2
champion = Chicago Bulls
champion_coach = Phil Jackson
champion_games = 4
date= June 5 - June 16
MVP = Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
television = NBC (U.S.)
announcers = Marv Albert, Matt Guokas, and Bill Walton
HOFers = Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
radio_network =
radio_announcers =
referees_1 =
referees_2 =
referees_3 =
referees_4 =
referees_5 = Game 5:
referees_6 = Game 6:
ECF result = Bulls defeat Magic, 4-0
WCF result = Supersonics defeat Jazz, 4-3

The 1996 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 1995-96 NBA season of the National Basketball Association. The Seattle SuperSonics (64-18) of the Western Conference took on the Chicago Bulls (72-10) of the Eastern Conference, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format.

Chicago won the series 4 games to 2, a fitting conclusion after a record breaking 72-10 standing during the regular season. Michael Jordan was named Finals MVP.

Background

In the playoffs, the Bulls lost only three games in four series, defeating Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, head coach George Karl and their Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals to win the World Championship. The Bulls shot out to a 3-0 lead, but the Sonics rallied back to win the next two at home. Eventually, the more experienced Bulls proved to be too much as the Bulls captured their fourth title (after a two year hiatus). For his performance in the series against Seattle, Michael Jordan was named the Finals MVP.

Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan decided to return to basketball in 1995, after a short stint as a baseball player. Although he failed to lead the Bulls to the Finals in that year, he returned to pre-retirement form the next year and led the Chicago Bulls to one of the most memorable seasons ever. Freshly motivated by the playoff defeat against the Orlando Magic, trained aggressively in preparation for the 1995-96 season.

In the offseason, the Bulls lost B.J. Armstrong in the expansion draft, but Bulls general manager Jerry Krause pulled off a masterful deal by trading Will Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for notorious rebounder Dennis Rodman, who had won the past four rebounding titles.

That year, strengthened by the addition of Dennis Rodman, the Bulls dominated the league. With a lineup of Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Luc Longley, and perhaps the league's best bench in Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoč, Bill Wennington and guard Randy Brown, the Bulls posted one of the best single-season improvements in league history and the best single-season record. They moved from 47-35 to 72-10, which remains the best record in the league for an 82-game season. Jordan won his eighth scoring title, and Rodman his fifth straight rebounding title, while Kerr led the league in three-point shooting. Michael Jordan won the league's regular season and All-Star Game MVP awards.

Jerry Krause won the executive of the year award, Phil Jackson won the coach of the year award, and Toni Kukoč was the sixth man of the year. Both Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan made the all-NBA first team, and Jordan, Pippen, and Dennis Rodman all made the all-defensive first team, the only time three players from the same team had done so.

The Chicago Bulls had no problems during the playoffs. After demolishing Miami by over 15 points per game in the first round, they would go 4-1 against the Knicks in the semifinals to get revenge and sweep the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.

eattle SuperSonics

In the 1994 playoffs, the first seeded Seattle (63-19) lost 3 games to 2 to the eighth seeded Nuggets (42-40). Seattle would once again be upset in the 1995 playoffs against the L.A. Lakers. After two first round defeats, Seattle would make a major come back in the 1996 season that would give them the name "Sonic Boom."

Led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, the SuperSonics went 64-18, leading the Western Conference, and setting the record for highest single-season win total in Supersonics history. Seattle blew through Sacramento in the first round; 3 games to 1. It also had no problems with defending champion Houston, sweeping them as well. However, their playoff troubles re-emerged after dropping two games to the Utah Jazz to bring the series to 3-3. However, Seattle took game 7 and won what was one of the most exciting series of the 1996 playoffs. Seattle would finally go to its first NBA Final game since 1979.

1996 NBA Finals Roster

1996 Chicago Bulls

Head Coach:Phil Jackson
Michael Jordan
Scottie Pippen
Dennis Rodman
Toni Kukoč
Luc Longley
Steve Kerr
Ron Harper
Bill Wennington
Jack Haley
Jud Buechler
Dickey Simpkins
James Edwards
Jason Caffey
Randy Brown
John Salley

1996 Seattle Supersonics

Head Coach:George Karl
Gary Payton
Shawn Kemp
Detlef Schrempf
Hersey Hawkins
Sam Perkins
Vincent Askew
Ervin Johnson
Frank Brickowski
Nate McMillan
David Wingate
Sherell Ford
Eric Snow
Steve Scheffler

eries scoring summary

The following scoring summary is written in a line score format, except that the quarter numbers are replaced by game numbers.

Game 3

"Sunday, June 9, at the KeyArena"

First game at Seattle. Even though Seattle had the home-court advantage, they would still be blown out by 22 points.

Game 6

"Sunday, June 16, at the United Center"

Chicago wins the series 4 games to 2 on Father's Day, three years after Jordan's own father James was murdered. The victory was partly due to the stellar performance of the Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman, who repeated his Game 2 performance of 11 offensive rebounds, tying his own NBA Finals record.

Trivia

*The Bulls became the third franchise to have at least four championships, leaving them behind the Boston Celtics with 16 (at the time)and Los Angeles Lakers with 11 (at the time).
*Jordan became the first player to win the Finals MVP four times. He also became the second player to sweep the MVP award in the All-Star Game, regular season, and NBA Finals, joining Willis Reed during the 1969-70 NBA season.
*The 1996 NBA Finals is the only Finals series to feature three NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award winners - the Bulls' Dennis Rodman (1990, 1991) and Michael Jordan (1988), and Seattle's Gary Payton (the reigning 1996 Defensive Player of the Year).
**At least one of these players has been involved in every NBA Finals series that featured two current, future, or former NBA Defensive Players of the Year.
***1988 NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers (Michael Cooper) vs. Detroit Pistons (Dennis Rodman*)
***1989 NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers (Michael Cooper) vs. Detroit Pistons (Dennis Rodman*)
***1996 NBA Finals: Chicago Bulls (Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan) vs. Seattle Supersonics (Gary Payton)
***1997 NBA Finals: Chicago Bulls (Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan) vs. Utah Jazz
***1998 NBA Finals: Chicago Bulls (Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan) vs. Utah Jazz
***2004 NBA Finals: Detroit Pistons (Ben Wallace) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Gary Payton)
***2006 NBA Finals: Miami Heat (Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton) vs. Dallas Mavericks:::*Rodman had not yet won the award when he faced Cooper in these series.
**Gary Payton and Michael Jordan - who are the last two guards to have won the award - guarded each other throughout most of the series, marking the first time that two Defensive Players of the Year had guarded each other during a finals series. These two players also share the record for most NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, with 9.
*The 1991 Bulls' run through the Eastern Conference Playoffs was identical to the run of the '96 Bulls. The '91 team swept Round 1, won the semifinals series 4-1 and won the conference finals 4-0. And the only loss in both conference semis was in Game 3. The '91 Bulls beat the Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons in that order.
*This was the first of Gary Payton's three NBA finals appearances with three different teams.
*This Finals mark a brand new wordmark logo, and trophy logo on players uniforms.

ee also

*1996 NBA Playoffs

Notes & References

External links

* [http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19951996.html NBA.com's History of 1996 NBA Finals]


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