1995–96 Chicago Bulls season
The 1995–96 NBA season was the Bulls' 30th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bulls acquired rebound-specialist Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs, and signed free agent Randy Brown. Midway through the season, the team signed John Salley, who was released by the expansion Toronto Raptors. Salley won championships with the Detroit Pistons along with Rodman in 1989 and 1990. This season saw the Bulls set the record for most wins in an NBA regular season in which they won the championship, finishing with 72 wins and 10 losses. The regular season record was broken by the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors, who finished 73–9. Those Warriors have a connection to this Bulls team, as Steve Kerr, the current Golden State coach, was a reserve point guard with the Bulls.
|1995–96 Chicago Bulls season|
|Head coach||Phil Jackson|
|General manager||Jerry Krause|
|Place||Division: 1st (Central)|
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
|Playoff finish||NBA Champions|
(Defeated SuperSonics 4–2)
The Bulls' started 37–0 at home, part of a then-NBA-record 44-game winning streak that included games from the 1994–95 regular-season. Their 33 road wins were the most in NBA history until the 2015–16 Warriors won 34 road games. The season was the best 3-loss start in NBA history at 41–3 (.932), which included an 18-game winning streak for the team. The Bulls became the first NBA team to ever win 70 regular season games, finishing first overall in their division, conference, and the entire NBA. They are also the only team in NBA history to win more than 70 games and an NBA title in the same season. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were both selected for the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, as Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, while Phil Jackson was named Coach of The Year, and was selected to coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game.
The Bulls swept the Miami Heat 3–0 in the first round of the playoffs, defeated the New York Knicks 4–1 in five games of the semifinals, then swept the Orlando Magic 4–0 in the Conference Finals. They then defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4–2 in the 1996 NBA Finals, winning their fourth NBA title in six seasons. The Bulls have the best combined regular and postseason record in NBA history at 87–13 (.870). For the season, the Bulls added black pinstripe alternate road uniforms. Eventually, they would remove the pinstripes from the jerseys the following season.
Before the 1995–96 NBA season, the Bulls acquired Dennis Rodman and Jack Haley from the Spurs in exchange for Will Perdue and cash considerations to fill a void at power forward left by Horace Grant, who left the Bulls before the 1994–95 NBA season.
In his book Bad as I Wanna Be, Rodman wrote that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen had to approve the trade. Rodman chose the number 91 (9+1=10 according to Rodman for why he chose that number) for his jersey since #10 was retired by the Bulls in 1995 in honor of Bob Love.
Haley played in one game, the final game of the regular season, and didn't participate in the playoffs. He was best known for his friendship with the enigmatic Rodman.
|1||20||Jason Caffey||PF||United States||Alabama|
|2||31||Dragan Tarlać||C||Serbia||Olympiakos (Greece)|
Chicago Bulls roster
|1||z-Chicago Bulls *||72||10||.878||–||82|
|2||y-Orlando Magic *||60||22||.732||12.0||82|
|5||x-New York Knicks||47||35||.573||25.0||82|
|12||New Jersey Nets||30||52||.366||42.0||82|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
Source: Team Splits on Basketball Reference |}
|1995–96 NBA records|
The Bulls began the 1995–96 season on November 3 against the Charlotte Hornets and defeated them, 105–91, with Michael Jordan scoring 42 points. The next day, Chicago defeated the Boston Celtics in a 22-point blowout. On November 7, the Bulls defeated the Toronto Raptors behind Jordan's 38 points. In Gund Arena, Chicago defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 9, where Scottie Pippen accumulated a triple-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. After defeating the Portland Trail Blazers on November 11, the Bulls reached a 5–0 start for the season. On November 14, Chicago's undefeated streak ended with a loss to the Orlando Magic, despite a double-double performance by Pippen. Following their first loss of the season, Chicago bounced back to defeat Cleveland on November 15. The Bulls would continue their winning ways by defeating the New Jersey Nets on November 17.
From November 21–December 2, the Bulls went on a road trip to play against Western Conference teams. On November 21, Chicago played in its first overtime game of the season in a win against the Dallas Mavericks, backed by a double-double performance by Pippen and 36 points from Jordan. On the next day, the Bulls defeated the San Antonio Spurs behind another triple-double by Pippen and Jordan's 38 points. Chicago then went to Delta Center to play against the Utah Jazz on November 24. In the game, the Bulls defeated the Jazz, 90–85. On November 26, the Bulls headed to Seattle and were dealt their second loss of the season after losing by five points. Heading south into Portland, Chicago would defeat the Trail Blazers by three points on November 27. In their last game of the month, the Bulls went to Canada to play against the Vancouver Grizzlies and defeated them.
Chicago's road trip ended in Los Angeles on December 2 after defeating the Clippers. On December 6, the Bulls headed back to the United Center to play the New York Knicks and had defeated them despite Jordan's struggle that night. The Bulls won their fifth straight game on December 8 against the Spurs. On the next day, Chicago defeated the Milwaukee Bucks behind Jordan's 45-point performance.
The Bulls went undefeated in January.
The Bulls continued their success in February, winning 11 of 14 of the games played this month. And also, this is their first and only time they have lost back-to-back games for the whole season. On February 4, they had been defeated by the Denver Nuggets despite a stellar performance by Michael Jordan who recorded 39 points and 4 assists on the road. The following game, the Bulls also lost another road game, this time to the Phoenix Suns. In this game, Charles Barkley proved too much to be handle by the Bulls as he dropped a double-double of 35 points and 16 rebounds to guide his team in winning. After losing two straight road games, the Bulls followed it with 7 straight wins. In that 7-game streak, the Bulls defeated the Warriors, Bullets, Pistons (in OT), Timberwolves, Pacers, Cavaliers and Hawks. Their 7-game winning streak were stopped by the home team, the Miami Heat. The Heat, guided by Rex Chapman who shot 9-for-10 from 3-point range, proved too much to be handled by the visiting Bulls. With this loss, the Bulls now have lost 6 games for the whole season, and all 6 of those games are on the road. 
The Bulls added 2 of their final 10 losses in March:
On Sunday, March 10, they were blown out 104-72 in Madison Square Garden by Ewing's Knicks – their largest margin of defeat on the season.
Two weeks later, they dropped a game at the hands of the expansion Raptors, 109-108. Damon Stoudamire posted an efficient 30-point, 11-assist effort to lead Toronto.
The Bulls lost two home games in the final month losing to the Charlotte Hornets, then their final home game of the season to the Indiana Pacers. Those were their only home losses of the entire season, including the playoffs, as Chicago finished with an overall 39-2 record at the United Center.
|TBS||Game 1||April 26||9:30 EDT|
|NBC||Game 2||April 28||5:30 EDT|
|TNT||Game 3||May 1||8:00 EDT|
The Bulls' playoff run began on April 26. Their First Round opponent was the Miami Heat, whom they defeated 3–1 in the regular season. In Game 1, the Bulls defeated Miami in a blowout victory behind Jordan's 35 points. Winning in a 31-point blowout, Chicago once again defeated the Heat. To reach the Conference Semifinals, the Bulls defeated the Heat in Miami in a game where Pippen accumulated a triple-double with 22 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.
|NBC||Game 1||May 5||5:30 EDT|
|TNT||Game 2||May 7||9:30 EDT|
|NBC||Game 3||May 11||1:00 EDT|
|NBC||Game 4||May 12||5:30 EDT|
|TNT||Game 5||May 14||8:00 EDT|
The Bulls met rival New York Knicks in the Conference Semifinals. In the regular season, Chicago won the season series, 4–1. In Game 1 on May 5, the Bulls defeated the Knicks behind Jordan's 44 points. Chicago would defeat New York again on May 7 to take a 2–0 series lead. Playing at Madison Square Garden, the Bulls lost Game 3 in overtime, despite a 46-point offensive performance by Jordan. In Game 4, Chicago defeated the Knicks by three points to take a 3–1 series lead. To close out the series, the Bulls defeated New York at home behind double-double performances by Pippen and Rodman.
|NBC||Game 1||May 19||3:30 EDT|
|TNT||Game 2||May 21||8:30 EDT|
|NBC||Game 3||May 25||3:30 EDT|
|NBC||Game 4||May 27||3:30 EDT|
In the Conference Finals, the Bulls met the Atlantic Division champions, Orlando Magic, a team led by Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway, who had reached the finals the previous year and were swept by Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets. The Bulls won the regular-season series against the Magic, 3–1. To start the series, the Bulls took Game 1 in a 38-point blowout on May 19. Behind Jordan's 35 points, Chicago defeated Orlando on May 21. In Game 3, the Bulls continued their winning ways by taking a 3–0 series lead against the Magic. Completing the series sweep, the Bulls won Game 4 by five points behind a 45-point performance by Jordan.
|NBC||Game 1||June 5||9:00 EDT|
|NBC||Game 2||June 7||9:00 EDT|
|NBC||Game 3||June 9||7:30 EDT|
|NBC||Game 4||June 12||9:00 EDT|
|NBC||Game 5||June 14||9:00 EDT|
|NBC||Game 6||June 16||7:30 EDT|
Chicago took on the Seattle SuperSonics, whose 64–18 franchise-best regular season record was overshadowed by the Bulls' 72–10 record. In the regular season, the two teams split the season series, 1–1. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Chicago defeated Seattle by 17 points. The Bulls took a 2–0 series lead against the Sonics in the second game where Rodman accumulated 20 rebounds. In KeyArena, Chicago won Game 3 behind Jordan's 36 points. The Bulls lost Game 4 in a 21-point blowout on June 12. On June 14, the Bulls lost against Seattle in Game 5. Back in the United Center, Chicago defeated Seattle in Game 6 to win the NBA championship four games to two.
|1996 playoff game log|
Total: 15–3 (Home: 10–0; Road: 5–3)
First Round: 3–0 (Home: 2–0; Road: 1–0)
Conference Semifinals: 4–1 (Home: 3–0; Road: 1–1)
Conference Finals: 4–0 (Home: 2–0; Road: 2–0)
NBA Finals: 4–2 (Home: 3–0; Road: 1–2)
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
- Phil Jackson, NBA Coach of the Year
- Michael Jordan, All-NBA First Team
- Michael Jordan, All-Star Game MVP
- Michael Jordan, NBA MVP
- Michael Jordan, NBA Finals MVP
- Michael Jordan, NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Michael Jordan, Regular season leader, Field Goals (916)
- Michael Jordan, Regular season leader, Field Goal Attempts (1850)
- Michael Jordan, Regular season leader, Total Points (2491)
- Michael Jordan, Regular season leader, Scoring Average (30.4 points per game)
- Scottie Pippen, All-NBA First Team
- Scottie Pippen, NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Dennis Rodman, NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Dennis Rodman, Regular season leader, Rebounds Per Game (14.9)
- Dennis Rodman, Regular season leader, Offensive Rebounds (356)
- Dennis Rodman, Regular season leader, Rebound Rate (26.6)
- Toni Kukoč, NBA Sixth Man of the Year
NBA All-Star GameEdit
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- "Spirit Of 72: Bulls 103, Bullets 93". Chicago Tribune. April 22, 1996. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
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- "Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Box Score, November 21, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
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- "Chicago Bulls at Seattle SuperSonics Box Score, November 26, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
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- "Chicago Bulls at Vancouver Grizzlies Box Score, November 30, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Clippers Box Score, December 2, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls Box Score, December 6, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls Box Score, December 8, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks Box Score, December 9, 1995". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "1995-96 Chicago Bulls Schedule and Results". Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- "1995-96 Chicago Bulls Schedule and Results - Basketball-Reference.com". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- "Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls Box Score, April 26, 1996". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
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- "Chicago Bulls at Seattle SuperSonics Box Score, June 12, 1996". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Chicago Bulls at Seattle SuperSonics Box Score, June 14, 1996". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Seattle SuperSonics at Chicago Bulls Box Score, June 16, 1996". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "1995-96 Chicago Bulls". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2016-04-24.