Last night, Kevin Durant improved on his incredible offensive run, scoring 30+ points for the 12th consecutive game with 33 against the Miami Heat. Durant's streak is now one step closer to the second-closest record of 16 straight games set by Kobe Bryant in 2003 (no one's touching Wilt Chamberlain's 65 consecutive game streak, sorry). But this performance by KD had us thinking about another incredible moment that you young'ns may not recall: the time Michael Jordan switched over to point guard and recorded a triple-double in 10 of 11 games during the 1988-89 season.
In early March 1989, Jordan grew frustrated by his lack of help on offense. As a result, Jordan held a two-hour meeting with then head coach Doug Collins one day after missing a game because of a pulled groin. The resolution to their problem was converting MJ to point guard for the remainder of the season. While he wasn't a fan of playing the one after experimenting with the role in the past, Jordan agreed to give it another try. The results were uncanny.
Over the course of those 11 games, Jordan averaged 33.6 points, 11.4 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game.
On March 11, 1989, Jordan played his first game of the season at the point and racked up 18 points with 15 assists and eight boards en route to the Bulls' easy 105-88 win over the Seattle SuperSonics. But that was only a taste of things to come from Mike. The very next game, the Bulls were victorious once again, but this time, MJ posted his fifth triple-double of the season with a 21/14/14 stat line against the Indiana Pacers.
Over the next six games, Jordan flirted here and there with a triple-double, however, on March 25, against the same team he started this whole point guard experiment with, he recorded the triple-double that would become the start of an incredible run that would last 10 of 11 games. Over the course of those 11 games, Jordan averaged 33.6 points, 11.4 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game. And while the numbers were undoubtedly great, recording 14 of his 28 career regular season triple-doubles that season, they somehow didn't translate to wins as the Bulls went 5-6 during his run. In the end, Jordan wanted his time at point guard to bring out the best in his teammates. “It’s a challenge, and that basically is what Michael Jordan is all about,” MJ said. “I’ve been bothered for some time about the Bulls being a one-dimensional team, a Michael Jordan team. The thing I’ve been harping about all year has come true. The other guys are getting into the game. They now believe in themselves, and that’s what we needed." And even though he was focused on making it a team effort, Jordan was still able to step up and make the shot when called upon in the playoffs. Case in point, "The Shot" by MJ over Craig Ehlo to clinch the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round series victory over the No. 3 seed Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on May 7.
The following season, Jordan ended the experiment and went back to his original position of shooting guard, allowing John Paxson and rookie B.J. Armstrong to split time at the point. But now opposing teams and fans alike realized that at the flip of a switch, MJ could mess around and become arguably the best point guard to ever play the game. Yeah, Jordan was that good. But you knew that already.
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