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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scottie Pippen Completes His Journey from Hamburg, Arkansas to the Basketball Hall of Fame

Scottie Pippen was officially enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night. Pippen is one of the two dozen greatest players in basketball history, in the category right below the icons of the game who occupy the sport's Pantheon. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen comprised the most versatile--and, arguably, the greatest--duo in NBA history and one of the greatest tandems in sports history, period. Pippen's legacy is not merely about numbers and awards, although even just a sampling of his accomplishments proves that his resume is bursting with great statistics and many honors:
  1. 10 All-Defensive Team selections (tied with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett for fourth all-time behind Tim Duncan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bobby Jones)--including eight First Team honors (tied for third all-time, just one behind Jordan and Gary Payton)--plus seven All-NBA Team selections (including three First Team honors)
  2. 1994 All-Star Game MVP
  3. 1995 NBA steals champion
  4. First all-time in NBA/ABA career playoff steals, sixth all-time in NBA/ABA career playoff assists, tied for seventh all-time in NBA/ABA career playoff three point field goals made, 13th all-time in NBA/ABA career playoff points and 15th all-time in NBA/ABA career playoff rebounds
  5. In 1994-95, Pippen became just the third player in NBA/ABA history to lead his team in ppg, rpg, apg, spg and bpg in the same season (Julius Erving and Dave Cowens had previously accomplished this, while Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady would subsequently do so)
  6. Pippen played a critical role on six Chicago championship teams (1991-93, 1996-98) and he surprised a lot of basketball fans by leading the Bulls to a 55-27 record in 1993-94 after Jordan retired just prior to that season; if not for a horrible call by Hue Hollins, the Bulls likely would have advanced to the NBA Finals that season and possibly even won the championship
  7. Although Pippen is the second youngest member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team (forever known as the "Dream Team," they were enshrined collectively by the Hall of Fame on Friday) he hardly took a back seat to the established legends: Pippen led the squad in assists and ranked second in steals
Pippen's numbers are great--and probably better than many casual fans realize--but his legacy is based on the hard work and determination it took to travel the long journey (literally and metaphorically) from Hamburg, Arkansas to Springfield, Massachusetts. Pippen overcame numerous challenges and honed his body and his game to elite levels.

If you don't know how great Pippen was--or if you just would like a refresher course--check out these videos:

In the first two videos we see some great examples of Pippen's defensive virtuosity. Some people act like LeBron James invented the so-called "chase down" block but Julius Erving actually made that an art form in the 1970s and 1980s, while Pippen also had his share as well--but what made Pippen special as a defender was his versatility and completeness: he could literally guard any position, plus serve as a help defender, and he not only racked up steals and blocks but he took charges--and not fake charges by flopping but legit charges in which he stood his ground and took body contact to draw the foul.

As Coach Phil Jackson said, Pippen was "a one-man wrecking crew."





The next video showcases Pippen's all-around greatness: he could score from a variety of areas on the court, handle the ball like a guard, make great passes, rebound like a power forward and, as we saw in the first two videos, play tremendous defense.



I did a one on one interview with Pippen toward the end of his playing career and I was particularly struck by his response to my question about how he would like to be remembered:

"A gym rat. A guy who worked very hard to make sure that his game was complete in every area and wanted to be looked at as one of the best players in the league. Even though I probably never was (the best player), because I played with a great player, but that was my approach to basketball as a whole, being a guy who came from a small college. I wanted to be the best player in the game. Even though I played with the best player in the game, it was always in my mind that if I did a little bit more, if I became a little bit more complete, people would look at me as one of the best players in the game and not just look at the fact that I did not have the offensive skills that Michael had."

**********

In case you missed it, here is Scottie Pippen's Hall of Fame induction speech:



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posted by David Friedman @ 1:37 AM

31 comments

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31 Comments:

At Saturday, August 14, 2010 8:09:00 AM, Anonymous yogi said...

Thanks for the reminders - what a great collection of videos.

Pippen's dedication, sincerity and humility really stand out when you look at today's spoiled brats. Now we have star players who are more marketing machines than lovers of the game.

 
At Saturday, August 14, 2010 12:52:00 PM, Blogger hokwei said...

Because Pip played with Jordan his career is criminally undervalued. Because of his defensive versatility MJ was able to devote most of his energy to the offensive end. Not to dismiss Jordan's own defensive brilliance, but if he hadn't played with Pippen he would have had much less energy to play with on the offensive end. Pippen was also a highly underrated playmaker. Pip was the main playmaker for the Bulls. I'd take Pip in his prime over Lebron any day. Pippen was a consumate winner and a hell of a player.

 
At Sunday, August 15, 2010 4:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcel

pip was a great player howkel but he is not as good in no point of his career as lebron james. pip was a great defender and fairly good offensive player lebron great in both. lebron passing abilty is on par with magic or close to it pip was a very good passer not as good as lebron is im not talking assists im talking vision always hitting the open man at the right time. rebound lebron better as well. pippen couldnt lead the 07 cavs to the finals nor could he won 60 plus games with the last two cavs teams. lebron has more mvp's more all nba first teams almost all star games and he only played 7 season. lebron has scoreing title better scorer quicker better finisher, he perfected the chase down block which interupts your fast break.

it is irriatble to hear a bunch of mad butt hurt cleveland fans try to diminsh and hate on this kid so bad just because he doesnt play for the cavs no more lepippen lequitter a sidekick STOP IT please cleveland fans he is the best plsyer or second best in league leave him alone now.

pip desrved his due it was good to see all of the hall of famers there. pip changed the 3 position makeing it a point forward, he could do it all the 2 years without jordan proved he could be a good one option player i dont know if he could win a title but he proved he could make it almost to conference finals and he was a legit all time great top 30 players all time like 27 i would put him a special player.

 
At Monday, August 16, 2010 1:27:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

Purely from a skill set standpoint, Pippen and LeBron are very close. LeBron has more of a scorer's mentality and he takes more shots so he has a much higher scoring average. Pippen was a better defender than LeBron, while their rebounding and passing skills were very similar; it is more difficult to amass assists in the Triangle Offense system than in a "system" in which one player dominates the ball and that is why LeBron averages more assists than Pippen (and Kobe).

You are correct that LeBron has already amassed more individual honors (in terms of MVPs and All-NBA First Team selections) than Pippen and this would lead many people to rank LeBron ahead of Pippen but if LeBron never wins a championship then his resume will have a giant hole in it compared to Pippen's, because LeBron will not be able to argue (as some superstars legitimately could) that he never had a good enough supporting cast: his Cleveland teams made it to the Finals in 2007 and posted the best regular season record in 2009 and 2010, while his Heat are considered to be a stacked team because of Wade, Bosh and a cast of experienced veterans willing to accept relatively small contracts.

 
At Monday, August 16, 2010 7:25:00 PM, Blogger hokwei said...

Marcel, Pippen played with arguably the best player of all time. Of course he didn't score as much as Lebron does. He was a FAR superior defender than Lebron is. Lebron has mastered the chase down block true. But when was the last time he locked somebody down. You just don't see that. Lebron's defensive skills are vastly overrated. The only thing I would say Lebron is clearly better at is rebounding. Pip was clearly the better leader (one chair throwing tantrum aside). This isn't a knock on Lebron. But if I had to choose a player to lead a team to the chip, I'm taking Pippen any day. And no, I'm not a jilted Cavs fan. I'm just someone who has always felt that Pippen was underrated simply because he played next to Jordan.

 
At Monday, August 16, 2010 7:54:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Hokwei:

I don't think that LeBron's "defensive skills are vastly overrated" but I agree with you that Pippen was a better defender than LeBron.

It is worth noting that Pippen actually averaged slightly more rebounds per minute than LeBron--and Pippen's career numbers naturally include seasons when he was past his prime, while LeBron's numbers obviously do not. I don't see a clear edge for either player in that category but if I had to pick one player I would take Pippen, narrowly.

 
At Monday, August 16, 2010 11:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcel

howkel playing with the greatest player of all time also helped get him 6 rings too. as leader of team he got to the second round twice. to say he is a better leader is unfair when he wasnt the leader of his team. lebron never played with jordan its compareing apples to oranges. pip was truly a great player the bulls dont have 6 rings without him but he is not better than lebron james you admit he a better rebounder and scorer than pippen he a better an more precise passer too he stronger quicker etc. to say lebron has never shut noone down ask paul pierce if he has or not ask lueol deng both numbers suffered playing agianst lebron. lebron is a very good defender not as good as pip but very good.

this is the classic example when people underate a guy for so long like pippen was. saying he was only good because of mike which was foolish. they tend to go overboard when they find out they were wrong and overate the guy he was not no lebron james as the total package. only thing he has on lebron is 6 rings and better defender lebron has him in every category as leader of team took a team farther and acomplished more than him. how is pippen as good or better? noone was saying this before the descion now everyone wants to say this stuff on top of the fact lebron only played 7 seasons where pip played 15 and he already has had at least as good or better career come on yall pip was a special player. but this is going to far.

 
At Tuesday, August 17, 2010 6:36:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

LeBron has won more MVPs and received more All-NBA First Team selections than Pippen but awards are not the only way--or even the best way--to define greatness. Would you rate Steve Nash as LeBron's equal because Nash also won two MVPs?

As I explained in my earlier comment, purely from a skill set standpoint LeBron and Pippen are very similar. While some people compare LeBron to Magic, I have never agreed with this because the biggest difference between LeBron and Magic--and between LeBron and Pippen--is that LeBron willingly embraces the role of being a big-time scorer, something that Pippen did not do even after MJ's first retirement; in the 1994 season, Pippen helped Armstrong and Grant become All-Stars, whereas if LeBron had been in a similar position he certainly would have averaged 28-30 ppg (as he has been doing consistently for years now).

LeBron is not a lock down defender in the mold that Pippen was. LeBron is a good one on one defender and a very good help defender but Pippen was truly great in both areas. They are similarly skilled as rebounders and passers. LeBron scores more points than Pippen but LeBron also shoots a lot more than Pippen did.

It should be clear now why I did not include active players in my "Pantheon" (I mentioned Kobe, LeBron, Duncan and Shaq as possible future Pantheon members); a player's historical status can rise or fall during his career, so while he is still active it can be difficult to fairly compare him to retired players, especially when you are talking about the greatest of the great. LeBron has posted some impressive individual numbers and he has won many honors but if he never wins a championship despite playing for several talented teams (stacked teams in Cleveland followed by the so-called "Superfriends" in Miami) then maybe he really is not quite worthy of the Pantheon status that he once seemed destined to attain.

Pippen is a top 25-30 player all-time; LeBron has the necessary physical talent to rank even higher but without seeing how the rest of his career plays out it is difficult to fairly rank him.

 
At Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it borders on the absuid for someone to claim that lebron is equal to magic in passing and playmaking. absolutely ridiculous. I think a great player like lebron gets overrated in all aspects of his game, even aspects he is not even average in like long distance shooting. lebron is super elite in a few aspects like driving, attacking the hoop, transition, etc. but his defending and passing is quite overrated. for someone to compare his passing with magic and his defense to pippen, the best passer and perimeter defender in history should tell you everything.

 
At Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@hokwei
"but if he hadn't played with Pippen he would have had much less energy to play with on the offensive end"

Please look at the whole picture. If Pippen had to carry Jordan's load on offense, he'd have much less energy to play defense too.

@David
Great collection of videos indeed, thanks for the links!
Quick question, how do you think would LeBron's offense be affected by the rules during the 90's? We saw what the Spurs and Celtics could do to him. How badly would he be affected by even more physical pounding? How much would today's rules help Pippen?

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 12:45:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

Clearly, MJ helped Pippen and Pippen also helped MJ but I think that Hokwei's point is that MJ receives full credit for mentoring Pippen and for being the Bulls' "closer" while Pippen's significant contributions are often minimized or neglected entirely.

The 90s rules (i.e., defenders could be much more physical with perimeter players) would have been very tough for small, quick point guards like Nash, Tony Parker, etc. LeBron's game would have suffered to some extent as well because teams would have been able to rough him up--or try to rough him up--to some extent but MJ countered that by hitting the weight room and becoming stronger; LeBron is already very big and strong, so physical defense alone would not stop him. The Celtics and Spurs combined physicality with a strategy of conceding the perimeter jumper to LeBron and sagging defenders into his driving/passing lanes--and those strategies are likely to be at least as effective as a strategy of roughing up LeBron, regardless of the era.

Naturally, today's rules would have helped Pippen immensely; his drives to the hoop would be even harder to contain without defenders being able to hand check him.

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 9:20:00 AM, Anonymous Stephen said...

It's always a joy to read your articles that cover previous generations of players for those of us too young to have watched them analytically.

With that in mind I just don't see LeBron's game diminishing much (if any) if he had played in the '90s. To my knowledge scoring has dropped (from the mid 80s to mid 2000s it dropped nearly 20 ppg), FG% has dropped, and FTs per game have dropped slightly.

Josh Tucker(?), who's website David has linked to on the side, pointed out after the Finals this year that Jordan never faced a defense, statistically speaking, as good as the Magic from last year. Kobe had one of the best Finals ever and LeBron had one of the best playoff series ever.

The interesting thing is I saw the Magic as something of a throwback defense in the sense that they were more likely to challenge players at the rim (and get called for a foul) rather than, like most elite defenses in this era, slide in and take a charge.

Maybe I'm just oversimplifying.

As a side note, David I hope you'll be writing about the World Championships. I'd hate to do something stupid; like get desperate and read ESPN or Yahoo.

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 1:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcel

anymous you missed magic playing and you missed lebron play. lebron is close to the passer play maker magic was this is not a debate. plus he 6'8 250 bigger than magic doing amazing things. magic was better but lebron pretty good in those departments.

david i never said he was on par in defense with pippen obvisouly he not. i was responding to howkel saying he hasnt shut anyone down in recent memory ask paul pierce and lueol deng about that was my point.

we assientaly agree really i do believe the heat will win titles in miami in next 3 years one or two. he could pull a kobe go back to cleveland at 29 after his first 3 years or up and try to win a title agian in cleveland. i say this because in gq interview he didnt rule it out.

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 1:33:00 PM, Blogger West Coast Slant said...

David, you said that the rules would help Pippen immensely on offense, but do you think they would have made things equally more difficult on the defensive end? Of course Pippen would still be an elite defensive player. He moved his feet, took charges, and knew how to swipe the ball (ala CP3), but with all the athletic forwards and speedy guards in the game today, along with the hand check rule, Pippen's defense would have to suffer some right? On the flipside, do you think the 90s rules would have helped Lebron become a tougher defender, especially one-on-one. He's big enough and strong enough that he could mug centers!

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 2:25:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Stephen:

That is essentially what I said: the more physical defense of the 90s would not necessarily have been a huge impediment for LeBron because LeBron is so strong--and adding strength was MJ's response to the physical defenses that he faced in the late 80s and into the 90s.

It would take more than numbers alone to convince me that the Magic's defense is better than any defense that MJ faced; the numbers are only relevant in the context of a particular season because they reflect the milieu (in terms of rules and in terms of the level of the teams that they played) of that time. Do you really believe that the Magic were better defensively than, say, the Bad Boys Pistons?

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 2:34:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

Is shutting down Luol Deng really a significant accomplishment? Deng is not even an All-Star.

If LeBron went back to Cleveland how would that be "pulling a Kobe"? I don't understand what you mean by that comment.

 
At Wednesday, August 18, 2010 2:39:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

West Coast Slant:

Yes, the flip side of the equation is that the current restrictions on defense would hinder Pippen at that end of the court to some degree but Pippen was such a smart defensive player that I think he would have adjusted; Kobe plays excellent perimeter defense under the current rules--Doc Rivers called him the best help defender since Pippen--so there is no reason to think that Pippen could not also have played excellent perimeter defense under the current rules.

LeBron could have been a very fearsome defender under 90s rules if he elected to play a physical style by handchecking and bumping his opponents.

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 3:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcel

meaning if lebron win in cleveland and miami would have pulled a kobe winning with and without shaq if he was to go back to cleveland. i dont know if he is but they would be diffrent and 3 years and hopefully have a star next to him.

paul pierce is a 8 time all star and a great player who was a finals mvp and he shut him down twice. and who has torched lebron anyway on defense?

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:21:00 AM, Anonymous Stephen said...

David:

I didn't make it clear in my original comment that he limited it to the Finals. Some of the commentors did mention the Pistons but obviously any encounters would have happened before the Finals and as he pointed out MJ's team lost those times they did face a defense on the level of a team like Boston.

I prefaced my initial comment by essentially stating my ignorance. So to answer your question about the Pistons: I have no clue.

But the difference between eras has always interested me as the numbers just don't add up. Don't mistaken me for a "numbers guy." I'm actually far from it.

But even on a per possession basis a team like the 09 Magic are very similar to the Championship Pistons teams. Is it purely contextual factors that make things like this so?

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 3:10:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

LeBron has not won a championship with or without Shaq while Kobe has won five championships total, so LeBron is far from "pulling a Kobe," to use your jargon. The idea of LeBron ever rejoining the Cavs--let alone winning a title in Cleveland--is very improbable, bordering on delusional.

Pierce had 41 points on 13-23 field goal shooting in game seven of the 2008 ECF as the Celtics beat the Cavs. That hardly counts as an occasion when LeBron "shut Pierce down." LeBron scored 45 points in that game, but the issue at hand is LeBron's defense, not his offensive prowess.

LeBron is a very good defender who has made great strides in that department since his rookie season and I support his inclusion on the All-Defensive First Team but I would not rate him as Pippen's equal either in terms of on ball defense or help defense.

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 3:14:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Stephen:

Thank you for clarifying this.

I have not done a comprehensive comparison of the Bad Boys and the 2009 Magic but my opinion is that while the Magic clearly had the best shot blocker (Howard) the Pistons had better individual defenders overall. It is almost meaningless to make a straight by the numbers comparison because the rules were different plus the teams obviously did not face any common opponents. It is interesting to speculate about such things but I am skeptical of anyone who claims to make definitive conclusions about these kinds of cross-generational comparisons, regardless of his methodology.

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcel

there was 13 games in two playoff series paul pierce had 3 good games? you pick 1 of 13 and say pierce torched him? basically he shut him down is very fair statement most of the time.

it probably wont happen but if he could pull it off it would be great.

ive said pip was better defender than lebron but howkel was wrong saying lebron isnt a good defender ask pierce and deng and many others.

 
At Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:49:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

I never said that Pierce "torched" LeBron but I don't agree with you that LeBron shut him down, either--particularly considering that Pierce was Boston's game seven hero in 2008 versus Cleveland and that Pierce outdueled LeBron in the pivotal game five of this year's Boston-Cleveland series. Overall, Pierce was less effective versus Cleveland in the 2010 playoffs than he was during the 2008 playoffs but Pierce was not as effective in general this year compared to the level that he played at two years ago.

LeBron is not coming back to Cleveland. We'll see if he can win one title in Miami, let alone multiple titles.

 
At Friday, August 20, 2010 12:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MARCEL

not to go back and forth but he shot 37 35 33 14 42 percent 5 of 7 games in 08 at his peak pretty much got shut down he scored 19 ppg mainly on game 5 and 7 so lebron did excellent job defensively on pierce. in 2010 it was rondo not pierce who was focal point in either he wasnt that effective vs cleveland. in 08 they had a peak garnett who played well as well.

 
At Friday, August 20, 2010 1:35:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

We agree that LeBron is a very good defensive player who made things tough for Pierce but when a player scores 41 points as his team wins game seven it does not make sense to suggest that said player was "shut down."

 
At Sunday, August 22, 2010 2:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven

I haven't checked in on this blog in a few days, but reading through David's exchange with Marcel I'd like to second the notion that Lebron did not shut Pierce down.

What I recall from that 2008 series was Lebron being man handled by that Celtics defense in all but one, maybe two games. He had that one epic shootout with Pierce, the game where the both went for over 40. Beyond that, I recalled him shooting below 30 percent in a few games of that series.

Looking back through the game logs from the 2007-08 playoffs, Pierce definitely shot poorly against Cleveland, but that's to be expected when two defensive teams square off.

Lebron is a solid man-to-man defender, and a good help defender ...but I think people tend to focus too much on his chase down blocks, the only defensive skill he's genuinely mastered. He's definitely an above average NBA defender, but he's not spectacular either.

 
At Saturday, August 28, 2010 1:30:00 PM, Blogger hokwei said...

Marcel, James makes highlight plays on D, but he hardly ever locks anybody down. Look at the playoffs this year. When Westbrook was giving the Lakers fits Kobe disrupted him. Same for Rondo against the C's. When Rondo was busy running all over the Cavs, Lebron wasn't up for the task of stopping him. This was what Pippen did all the time for the Bulls. And Pippen did his offensive work without having to dominate the ball like Lebron does.Sure Lebron has a lot of assists. He has the ball in his hands all the time. Of course he scores more than Pip did. He shoots way more than Pippen ever did. Do you think that if Lebron played with Jordan he'd average 30 points? I highly doubt it. And when Jordan left for two years, the Bulls were still considered contenders, and almost made it back to the Finals in a much tougher East than Lebron plays in. Pippen was a much better leader than James will ever be. In two years of the leader of the team Pippen got his team within a blown call of the Finals. In seven years, Lebron got his team to the Finals once. In a really weak East. I'm taking Pip over Lebron any day of the week.

 
At Sunday, August 29, 2010 4:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MARCEL

as i maintained paul pierce numbers vs him and deng and everyone else he guarded are down vs cleveland than they are vs any body else in playoffs.

bron cant guard pierce and rondo at same time he was shutting down pierce the coach didnt want pierce to get off so they couldnt make that switch. bron would of been able to disrupt rondo if he was switched on him.

pipen couldnt win with that 07 cavs team dont see pippen scoreing 48 in game 5 in detroit. im takeing bron over him people are only saying this because of the whole descion thing. bron has proved he is a great player with great supporting cast now will do big things in miami.

 
At Sunday, August 29, 2010 5:07:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

LeBron played on a team that was so deep and talented that it posted the league's best regular season record two years in a row yet he did not lead that team to the NBA Finals either year; when MJ retired right before the start of the '94 season the Bulls replaced him with Pete Myers and then Pippen led them to within a blown Hue Hollins call of at least reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Pippen would not have had to score 48 points in a playoff game because he would have locked down whoever he guarded and then he would have gotten all of his teammates involved offensively.

Pippen was an All-NBA caliber player for six championship teams; LeBron has proven to be a more prolific scorer than Pippen and LeBron has garnered two regular season MVPs but, as I mentioned above, Pippen's overall skill set matches up quite well with LeBron's.

 
At Monday, March 21, 2011 5:04:00 PM, Anonymous st said...

i know this comment is way after everyone else's, but i just stumbled across this post since scottie pippen's one of my all time favourite players. and, out of curiosity, i watched a replay of the 1994 bulls vs knicks game 5, in specific, the ending, and according to hubie brown, pippen did foul hubert davis.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4WjOUXZr7Q
if you go to the 3 minute mark, hubie brown says "right there, the foul is after the shot, but he definitely fouls him"

 
At Monday, March 21, 2011 11:20:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

ST:

Hubie Brown is my favorite NBA analyst but this time he was wrong. Marginal contact--at most--well after a shot is released is not a foul in the NBA; the defender has to give the shooter a place to land but Pippen did not interfere with Davis' landing: Pippen contested the shot and Davis got a clean release.

Many people may not remember that Darell Garretson--the other official in that game--publicly declared that the call was "terrible." That pretty much trumps anyone else's opinion on the matter; I cannot think of another instance when a call was so awful that an official's partner publicly rebuked him. The Hollins call is probably the worst game-deciding call in NBA playoff history. People who followed the Bulls regularly in those years remember that Hollins was involved in many questionable calls during Bulls games, all of which went against the Bulls--including a call that may have cost the Bulls a 73rd win during the 1996 season.

 

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