Jordan looked for his shot in the second half (he took 19 of his 32 in the final 24 minutes), but he was not a man swimming alone, as he has been much of the season. Grant had played passively in the first half, and just before the start of the third period Collins made sure to show him his first-half rebounding line (1) on the stat sheet. Grant awakened in time to make two key baskets off offensive rebounds in the final quarter and finished with five boards. "That was Harvey out there in the first half," said Grant later, "and Horace in the second." Hodges broke out of a slump to nail two three-pointers in the third period. Cartwright made a key tip-in of a Hodges miss with 2:06 left. And Pippen threw in a clutch three-pointer with 1:13 left to give Chicago a 97-95 lead.
But Ehlo, normally the seventh man in the Cavs' rotation, was hot, which was fortunate for Cleveland, because Price seemed to have run out of gas. Ehlo, who led the Cavs with 24 points, put them back on top with a three-pointer. Then, after Jordan's jumper over Nance gave the Bulls a 99-98 lead, Ehlo made an inbounds pass to Nance, alertly cut past Hodges and took the return pass for a layup, giving Cleveland the 100-99 lead.
The Bulls took a timeout with three seconds left, and Collins picked up his chalkboard. What say, Doug—maybe run the picket fence for Will Perdue? Yet give Collins this: As a strategist, he must constantly come up with new ways for one man to get the ball. And he does.
As the Bulls broke from their huddle. Jordan whispered to Hodges, "I'm going to make it." Sellers took the ball out of bounds near half-court, but the Cavs elected not to challenge the inbounds pass. Nance fronted Jordan, and Ehlo, his defender of record, was behind him. Jordan first set a back-pick on Cartwright's man, Daugherty—"I felt for a split second that maybe he was just a decoy," said Ehlo—but it was only a ploy, and Jordan rushed out to the wing to take the inbounds pass. Nance and Ehlo still stalked him. Then Jordan zagged when the defense zigged, and he caught Sellers's inbounds pass in an open area. Two dribbles brought him to the center of the court, a couple of feet behind the free throw line. Then came the winning shot.
"I never saw it go in," said Jordan, "but I knew right away from the crowd reaction—silence—that it was good." Jordan smiled slightly. "Then I did something maybe I shouldn't have. I really celebrated and shouted, "It's over!' I really felt justice was served.
"I was crushed after I missed that free throw in Game 4. Then I came here and got booed in the introductions. And the crowd hand-waved me when I was at the foul line. I heard them tell me it was time to set up my tee times for the summer. I felt I had something to prove."
He didn't have anything to prove, of course, but that is what sets the great ones, like Jordan, apart. His teammates know it, his opponents know it, and a young man with a used breakfast fork knows it too.