Michael Jordan admits Pacers gave Bulls the ‘toughest’ time in the East
In Episode 9 of “The Last Dance,” Michael Jordan admitted that it was Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers that gave the Chicago Bulls the “toughest” time in the Eastern Conference — outside the Detroit Pistons.
Jordan recalled their journey to the NBA Finals after booting out former Bulls guard BJ Armstrong and the Charlotte Hornets in the second round of the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference Finals, they dueled with the Larry Bird-coached Pacers squad comprised of sharpshooting guard Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin, Rik Smits and Dale Davis, among others.
From Jordan’s perspective, the said Pacers team gave them a pretty difficult time.
“If I had to pick a team that gave us the toughest time in the East, Indiana was probably the toughest, outside of Detroit,” Jordan said in “The Last Dance.”
The rivalry was rooted way back in 1993 when Miller and Jordan were involved in a shoving match. Punches were thrown, Miller got ejected, and after the review of the tape, the officials slapped Jordan with a suspension and a fine, too.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 18, 2020
With that said, the 1998 East Finals had a lot of emotions bottled up — as seen in “The Last Dance.” Michael Jordan and the Bulls were gunning for that sixth title and basketball immortality, while Bird was confident that they can boot out Chicago and win it all in his first year of coaching.
Chicago won the first two games. As expected, however, the Pacers came storming back.
A classic moment occurred in Game 4 when Reggie Miller drained a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left in the clock. Indiana was able to tie the series, but the Bulls were able to power through them. Either way, the Bulls-Pacers match up is a rivalry for the ages.