If you’re an old-time Cleveland Cavaliers fan like myself you might find the comparison surprising. The shot that was made Saturday night by Boston Celtics’ guard Derrick White to help extend their series against the Miami Heat to a Game 7 was a true buzzer-beater, and it made White only the second player to hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer in an elimination game. Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers back in the 1989 playoffs.
No dissing Derrick White, but what MJ did to the Cavs way back when has had a major effect on Cleveland fans. I don’t imagine that Heat fans will remember Derrick White 35 years from now with so much haste, especially after Miami’s resounding win in Game 7 in Boston.
While the shot made by Jordan over Cavs’ player Craig Ehlo at the buzzer lives in our memory banks, it actually wasn’t the first time that Jordan and the Bulls had eliminated the Cavs. Most people probably don’t remember that in the season before, a very good Cavs team lost to the same Chicago Bulls and Jordan in a similar five-game series.
However, in that 1988-89 season, it was thought by most that the Cavs had the better of the two squads. Unfortunately, Chicago had Jordan and that Cleveland team lost in such a dramatic way.
Michael Jordan and the Bulls owned the Cavaliers
Interestingly enough, the Cavs would lose to the Bulls three more times in the playoffs in the coming years. Younger Cav fans may not know this about the series between the two squads, but it would help in explaining why older Cavs fans have such disdain for Michael Jordan. Without Jordan being part of the Bulls teams back then the Cavs might have won a couple of NBA Championships.
At the end of the 1991-92 season, Cleveland made it to the Eastern Conference Finals against Chicago. The Wine and Gold defeated the likes of the New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics only to have Jordan blocking the door to the NBA Title. Of course, the Cavs got beat in six games.
During the following 1993 season, Cleveland was so tired of playing against Jordan that they decided to get swept by him and his teammates in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It really was a time in Cavs’ history that was sad because they had such great squads then, with players like Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Larry Nance, Ron Harper (earlier on) and Hot Rod Williams on them.
Especially with Boston losing in Game 7, I doubt very much that this latest “shot” by White will live in history as the shot by Jordan has.