Michael Jordan was defeated in the NBA Playoffs by five luminaries, including Sidney Moncrief.

In the early years of his NBA career, Michael Jordan too experienced setbacks. Jordan won just one game and was swept twice in his first three postseason appearances. Prior to the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls were merely out of reach for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons.Even in his early NBA seasons, Jordan was a terrific player and a prolific scorer. “His Airness” averaged 32.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 6.0 APG, 2.8 SPG, and 1.1 BPG prior to the 1991 title. During that time, the legendary guard had won awards for Defensive Player of the Year and MVP. He was the scoring leader for four seasons in a row and a six-time All-Star.

Nevertheless, there were several players that he struggled or failed to defeat during the postseason.

Michael Jordan was surpassed by these players in the postseason #5. The Sidney MoncriefMichael Jordan’s first playoff series featured Milwaukee Bucks great Sidney Moncrief, a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner. When facing the second-seeded Bucks, the seventh-seeded Chicago Bulls were the underdog.In the series, Jordan was the main opponent for the Bucks’ main defender, Moncrief. Even so, “Air Jordan” averaged 2.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 5.8 APG, 8.5 APG, and 29.3 PPG. Despite being perhaps the best player in the series, he was only able to guide the Bulls to one victory on the floor.

 

#4 Terry CummingsTerry Cummings was a teammate of Sidney Moncrief’s on the Bucks squad that defeated the Chicago Bulls in 1985. The two-time All-Star played a significant role in Milwaukee’s dominance in the 1980s before turning into a journeyman.Cummings’ only duties were to assist defense or guard Jordan during switches. The power forward led the Bucks in scoring (29.5 PPG) and rebounds (9.3 RPG), which made him a constant nuisance for the Bulls.

Dennis Johnson, #3Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the eighth seed in the Western Conference in 1986, his second postseason appearance. Not less than Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics were waiting for them.The Celtics wanted to get revenge on the Los Angeles Lakers for their heartbreaking 1985 championship defeat. In theory, Chicago appeared to be a stepping stone for them.The first choice for the Celtics on defense against Jordan was Dennis Johnson, a playmaker and defensive stalwart for Boston. Michael Jordan proved during this series that he was real. He scored a career-high 63 points in Game 2. In those sneakers during the game, Larry Bird referred to Jordan as “God.”

Nevertheless, Johnson had a strong series in spite of the defensive work required. Ultimately, he averaged 2.0 SPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.3 APG, and 19.0 PPG.

#2 Isiah ThomasIn the postseason, Michael Jordan’s record versus the Detroit Pistons was 10–12. A significant portion of the reason “His Airness” didn’t have a winning record versus the “Bad Boys” was due to Isiah Thomas.

 

#1 The late Larry BirdIn the NBA Finals, Michael Jordan had a 6-0 record. In the playoffs, he also had a 0–6 record versus Larry Bird. In those six games, “His Airness” was incredibly talented. 39.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, and 1.8 BPG were his averages. He was not the cause of the Bulls’ inability to defeat Bird’s Celtics in a single game.The early years of Jordan’s life were when “Larry Legend” was at his best. Bird had an average of 8.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 9.0 RPG, and 27.2 PPG. In a couple of their postseason meetings, he was one of those players that outperformed Jordan.

The Boston Celtics’ two-season sweep over Michael Jordan’s Bulls was largely due to Bird.

 

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