Classic Confrontations: Michael Jordan vs Joe Dumars
The question to Michael Jordan was “Who was the best defensive player you ever played against?” His answer was “Joe Dumars – he was the toughest guy for me to drive by.”
Let’s make one thing clear. No one person has ever been able to shut Michael Jordan down, but 4 x All-Defensive Bad Boy Joe Dumars did as good of a job as any player in NBA history at slowing him down. For years, Dumars and Detroit’s “Jordan Rules” defense prevented MJ from advancing in the playoffs. 3 years to be exact and during those 3 years, MJ lead the league in scoring, hit historic shots (Cavs) and dominated teams but ended each season wondering how to get past the Pistons. Not only how to score on them but to stop players like Dumars who actually outscored Jordan in a few games.
The Bulls figured it out in their 4th year against the Pistons during the 1991 NBA playoffs when the Bulls swept Detroit in the ECF. The final game of the sweep is mostly known for Isiah Thomas leading his team to the lockers before the game was even over.
Jordan and the Bulls would go on to win their first of 3 consecutive championships but it was the D of Joe D and the Pistons that helped make Jordan and the Bulls the champions they became.