MJ Was the Demise of the Cavs and Jazz

Michael Jordan was the undisputed owner of all 90’s NBA franchises, especially these ones. The Jazz and the Cavs are bringing back the past this season with 90’s throwback jerseys, let’s look at what went down the first time around. There was a collection of very decent teams that just couldn’t compare to Chicago’s collection of all-timers.

First, let’s look at the Cleveland Cavaliers. These might be the best 90’s jerseys out there. They’re arguably more 90’s than any other thread. They had a squad too. Mark Price ran point next to Ron Harper, who was always good for a bucket. With the defensive presence that was Larry Nance next to “Mr. Everything” Craig Ehlo, the Cavs were a team to be reckoned with.

Cavs Circa Dawn of the 1990’s

Unfortunately, they always ran into the buzz saw that was Michael Jordan. MJ is actually the founder of these threads. He embarrassed Cleveland so bad that their franchise ultimately needed a new look. This gives us an excuse to go back and relive some of the glorious (notorious by Cleveland standards) moments. First, we start at the dawn of the new decade. In the ’89 Eastern Conference 1st round. The Cavs had pushed Mike to a decisive elimination game 5 back in Cleveland. 50 points from MJ wasn’t enough for the Bulls in game 4. He followed up with 44 more and “The Shot” to advance his Bulls by a single point. Craig Ehlo collapses in defeat as his potential game winner on the other end left 3 too many seconds of the clock for MJ magic. All Defensive caliber player Larry Nance and Ehlo doubling was not enough to stop Mike from getting his. He would average 46 points over the last 3 games with that cherry on top.

The following season, MJ once again embarrassed the Cavs in their home arena. A 69 point game that will forever solidify him in the GOAT conversation. Use this as an excuse to watch a straight buckets clinic. The Cavs changed their entire scheme and logo a couple years later in attempt to put these GOAT demons behind them.

Late 90s Jazz

The Jazz battled with their share of the GOAT demon as well. The Jazz switched up their scheme for the ensuing 1996-’97 season after falling in 7 games in the Western Conference Finals to the SuperSonics . They would return the following two seasons and triumphing over talented Rockets and Lakers teams. Jazz a 2/2 WCF record in the new threads, they must’ve been good luck… for the Bulls. Chicago owned them. Two years in a row they fell to the Bulls in game 6 of the Finals. They really had a squad. Prolific power forward Karl Malone. Aided by legendary point guard John Stockton. Flanked by Jeff Hornacek and Byron Russell, there were options. All of these options vaulted them to the top of the Western Conference in ’97 & ’98. It wasn’t enough to overcome arguably the greatest team of all time. The 72-10 Bulls took care of business in ’97. The following year, MJ hit his second “The Shot” which vaulted him to his second 3-peat and retirement. Utah would never recover from the “push off” and hasn’t seen the conference finals since.

There’s an underlying theme to all of these teams. You could say that with MJ out of the picture, they might’ve stood a chance. But he wasn’t for 6/7 years. Even in his absence, Scottie and co. tested a young Penny Hardaway and Shaq in the Eastern Conference Semis. A liege of ‘HOFers’ served “His Airness” during his reign. Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, the greatest rebounded of all time. Scottie Pippen, the best, most versatile defender in the league that wasn’t Michael Jordan. As well as 7 time world champion Robert Horry, who was ahead of his time as a stretch forward. During a couple of his championship runs he even had the likes of Ron Harper and Steve Kerr alongside him. Under one of the greatest coaches of all time, Phil Jackson, the 90’s Bulls had the greatest run of all time and it may never be matched. Even if a team could match up to the cast around him, no man in the world could hope to contain “Air Jordan”.

An OG OJ Joint


Top 5 Defenses in The Western Conference

As we all know, defense wins championships. But which team is equipped to best take advantage of this advantage? Obviously there’s more to winning a championship than one side of the ball but let’s break down the top 5 defenses in the Western Conference.

#5 Los Angeles Lakers- The LakeShow acquired the baddest man in the NBA, Jared Dudley. Also, LeBron James has been hearing the haters. “He’s washed” “He doesn’t play defense”, and he’s been sitting on those comments ALL OFF-SEASON. LeBron is actually still a top defender in the league and anyone who says otherwise will have to eat their words. The addition of The Brow, perhaps the most formidable interior presence behind Rudy Gobert, will make this Lakers team hard to score on in the paint. Flanked by sharpshooting wings Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers will be a gritty team when it’s not showtime. The Lakers also have Boogie Cousins down low and Rondo up at point, it will not be easy to score on these guys.

#4 Houston Rockets- The James harden doesn’t defend” narrative is old. he brings size and impeccable footwork to both sides of the floor and was second in steals last year. Former and now current teammate Russel Westbrook was also top 5 in the steals category and it’s no secret what he brings to the floor. Alongside defensive problem Eric Gordon and interior presence Clint Capela, the rockets have a very formidable front.

#3 The JV squad in Los Angeles, the Clippers- We all know they landed the marquee free agent in The Klaw. 2 time DPOY 5X All Defense. And somehow that slippery snake managed to convince the Clippers, Paul George, and subsequently OKC to pull to trigger on a trade that would pair him with a a 4 time All Defense and defending steals champ. Don’t forget they now have the prolific Ivan Zubac at center. These additions alongside known Dog Patrick Beverly and bench beast Montrezl Herrell figure to wreak havoc under the mastermind that is Doc Rivers.

#2. Utah Jazz- Off the bat they have 2 time DPOY and 3X all defensive team Rudy Gobert, he speaks for himself. Followed by Joe Ingles and if you’ve watched the NBA for a couple years you might recall him shutting down MVP finalist Paul George in the playoffs. Then obviously the electric Donovan “Spida” Mitchell, who can do all things. But what makes this team so special is the addition of Mike Conley. MAC11 brings that “Grind City” mentality to the locker room and is, in my opinion, the top court general in the league. The point guard sets the tone for his team and Mike will do exactly that by enforcing his clamps on opposing point guards.

#1. New Orleans Pelicans- This team is teeming with youth, length, and athleticism. One of the only familiar faces for this squad will no undoubtedly be the rock and set the tone. Jrue Holiday is an established clamper, having two all-defensive selections under his belt, it is already clear what ha brings to the table. The ability to lock down both one and two guards makes his a dynamic problem. Another dynamic problem is a big baller. Lonzo Ball, like Jrue Hoiday, is a point guard that can easily defend any back court opponent. his length and athleticism actually put him in a category with some of the best defenders in the league. While he has a all-rookie defense selection, look for him to make the jump to an all-NBA defense team in the coming years. Another young gun from Los Angeles by the name of slender man brings problems on defense. Brandon Ingram, after Zo, is a wings worst nightmare. Standing at 6’9″ with a SEVEN THREE wingspan, Ingram takes advantage of these gifts. He has consistently given elite scores, most notably, Kevin Durant, many problems and is a certified pest. An addition from the draft, Jaxson Hayes, will be an inside presence as he’s still growing and can jump through the roof. They also got some kid named Zion Williamson, I think he’s a problem, we’l leave it at that.

-An OG OJ Joint by Coulton Korosec