Today marks the 31st anniversary of Michael Jordan’s 63-point game against the Celtics in Game 2 of the 1986 playoffs.
MJ’s 63 points remain the most scored in a playoff game in NBA history—a feat he accomplished at age 23.
The Bulls lost the game, 131-135, to Celtics, who won 63 games in the regular season and went on to win the championship that year. (The Bulls squeaked into the playoffs as a No. 8 seed with a 30-52 record.)
Boston’s Larry Bird had just been named MVP for the third straight season.
Taking a look at the box score, Jordan scored his 63 points on 41 shots, didn’t attempt a single three, and added a team-high 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He played a total of 53 minutes in the double-OT slugfest.
Jordan famously returned in mid-March after missing 64 games with a broken left foot. This was just his 20th game back from what many thought would be a season-ending injury.
After the game, Bird famously remarked, “I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan. He is the most awesome player in the NBA.”