Over the course of the last two years, the Chicago Bulls have failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs.
While most of that has to do with the absence of Derrick Rose, the early postseason exits have still been disappointing to say the least.
But as some of you old-school Bulls fans may recall, postseason futility was never an issue during the team’s six championship runs during the 1990s.
And on this date in Bulls history 21 years ago, a fellow by the name of Michael Jordan delivered one of his many trademark playoff moments.
After a regular season that saw the Bulls finish with the third-best record in the league at 57-25, most people felt the road to a three-peat would not be an easy one with both the Phoenix Suns (62-20) and the New York Knicks (60-22) emerging as favorites to dethrone the two-time defending champs that year.
But the playoffs were a different season altogether and the Bulls were determined to prove they were going to be the team to beat.
The Bulls breezed by the Atlanta Hawks in three games in the first round of the playoffs, and took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.
Although the Cavaliers were on the brink of elimination in Game 4, they played with a sense of desperation.
In fact, Cleveland led 82-75 after three quarters of play and extended that lead to 87-77 early in the fourth quarter.
With their fans cheering them on, it appeared the home team was about to extend the series to a fifth game.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers and their fans, Jordan and the Bulls had other plans.
After Chicago had taken a brief 94-92 lead, the two teams were tied at 101 with 18.5 seconds left to play.
As the game’s final moments unfolded, everyone in the arena knew who was going to take the last shot.
It was not a matter of if, but when.
As expected, Jordan finally received the ball at the eight second mark with Gerald Wilkins draped all over him.
Jordan began to make his move, but Wilkins initially knocked the ball away.
It didn’t matter because Jordan re-gathered himself, took a couple of dribbles and calmly nailed a turnaround jumper as time expired.
The Bulls players celebrated another iconic Jordan moment as the Cavaliers sat in disbelief at the fact that His Airness had knocked them out of the playoffs once again.
You see, four years prior to this playoff matchup between the two teams, Jordan hit the game-winning shot from the free-throw line over Craig Ehlo to defeat the Cavaliers 3-2 in the Conference Quarterfinals.
Jordan, who finished the game with 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists would later say the shot he hit in 1989 was tougher than this one because the Bulls were facing elimination in that contest, per Sam Smith of Bulls.com.
This marked the fourth time in six seasons the Bulls eliminated their division rivals from the playoffs and the Cavaliers did not advance past the first round of the postseason again until the 2005-06 season.
James Tillman is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com and a sports contributor for Football Nation and Sports Kings/Pass The Pill. James is also a former Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @JTILLMAN9693.