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Most Memorable Games Between Michael Jordan, Utah Jazz From 1985-90

May 3, 2020, 3:54 PM | Updated: 9:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Chicago Bulls superstar Micheal Jordan had a tough time knocking off the Utah Jazz to start his career.

Jordan’s first meeting against the Jazz in his NBA career was in 1985. The two teams squared off twice each season.

In the 10 meetings against the Jazz from 1985-90, Jordan averaged 36.1 points per game. However, the Jazz had a 8-2 record against the Bulls.

Here is a look at every meeting between Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz from 1985-90.

1984-85 Season

Jordan’s first game of his NBA career against the Jazz was on March 9, 1985 in Chicago. The Jazz won the game 111-105 after Darrell Griffith dropped 40 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. John Stockton added 14 points and 11 assists. Jordan recorded 28 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals in the loss.

The next meeting in the 1984-85 season was in Salt Lake City on March 24, 1985. The Jazz dominated the Bulls 110-92 inside the Salt Palace. Adrian Dantley led the Jazz with 29 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Griffith chipped in 25 points and 6 boards. In the loss, Jordan had 26 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.

Utah finished with a 41-41 record and reached the second round of the postseason before being eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in five games.

The Bulls ended the season with a 38-44 record. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the Playoffs, 3-1. Jordan was named NBA Rookie of the Year.

In the 1985-86 season, Jordan played just 18 games in the regular season and missed both meetings against the Jazz.

1986-87 Season

The first meeting between Jordan and the Jazz took place in Salt Lake City on December 3, 1986. Despite Jordan dropping 45 points and 6 steals, the Jazz were able to pull out a 99-94 win, extending their win streak over Michael Jordan to 3-0. Karl Malone notched a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Bob Hansen added 18 points.

It was the first time that Michael Jordan and Karl Malone met in the Salt Palace.

“If I were a sculptor and I was going to make the perfect player, it would be Michael Jordan,” said Jazz head coach Frank Layden during the 1986-87 season.

Later that month on December 20, 1986, the Jazz took a 91-89 win back to Salt Lake City after Karl Malone gave the Jazz the win with the go-ahead bucket with 20 seconds left. Jordan had a chance to tie but turned the ball over.

Malone recorded 17 points and 9 rebounds. Mark Eaton nearly had a triple-double with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 9 blocks. Jordan had 27 points and 7 assists in the loss.

The Jazz won their first four meetings against Jordan. After the 1986-87 season, Utah had a 44-38 record. They lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs in five games.

Chicago ended the year with a 40-42 record before being swept in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics.

1987-88 Season

It was the year that Michael Jordan finally won his first game against the Utah Jazz. On December 2, 1987 in Salt Lake City the Bulls knocked off the Jazz 105-101 after Jordan dropped 47 points, 9 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Malone had 33 points and 14 rebounds to lead Utah with Griffith adding 19 points off the bench.

Jordan would carry the Bulls to their second straight win over the Jazz in Chicago with a 113-91 victory on January 9, 1988. MJ had 45 points, 8 assists and 4 steals for the Bulls while Malone dropped 25 points. Thurl Bailey added 18 off the bench.

After the regular season, the Jazz improved their record to 47-35. They knocked off the Portland Trail Blazers in four games in the first round of the Playoffs. The Jazz took the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games before their season ended in the second round.

Chicago had a 50-32 record heading into the Playoffs. They took down the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games before the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons eliminated the Bulls in five games.

1988-89 Season

The two teams clashed in Salt Lake City on November 30, 1988 where the Jazz capped off a 107-93 win. Darrell Griffith dropped 32 points and 7 rebounds in the win for Utah along with 23 points off the bench from Thurl Bailey. Jordan had 33 despite having to leave the game after taking an elbow to the nose from Karl Malone.

On January 6, 1989 in Chicago, the Jazz took down the Bulls 106-92. John Stockton dished out 19 assists. Bailey led all scorers with 33 points off the bench and 30 points from the Mailman. Jordan finished with 27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

The Jazz held a 51-31 record after the regular season but was swept in the first round of the Playoffs to the Golden State Warriors.

Chicago was 47-35 in the regular season. They knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the first round and the New York Knicks in six games in the second round before losing to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

1989-90 Season

In the final season of the 80’s, the Jazz and Bulls met in Salt Lake City on November 15, 1989. The Jazz beat the Bulls by one point, 108-107 after John Stockton took the ball through traffic and fired an shot at the buzzer near the paint to give the Jazz the win. Stockton finished with 22 points, 18 assists and 3 steals. Malone added 29 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan scored 40 points for the Bulls in the loss.

On March 8, 1990, the Jazz traveled to Chicago and pulled off a 98-94 win despite Jordan going off for 43 points, 7 rebounds and 7 steals. Malone led the Jazz with 27 points and 19 rebounds. John Stockton chipped in 12 points and 16 assists and Thurl Bailey added 22.

The Jazz had a 55-27 record to end the regular season. They were upset by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the postseason after losing three games to two.

Chicago had the same record as the Jazz but went further in the playoffs. They beat the Milwaukee Bucks in four games in the first round and the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the second round before being eliminated in seven games by the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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