In part two of Besting The Jordan Challenges (part one found here), we achieve the Isomotion and lead Michael to his six championship rings.
June 3, 1992 vs. Blazers
Game 1, NBA Finals
Score 35+ points in the first half
Make 6+ threes in the first half
Hold Drexler to under 20 points
Win the game
The media once said Drexler and Jordan were even in all categories and stats except 3s heading into the NBA Finals in '92. Jordan decided to shoot from long range, going 6-7 from 3-point land, proving why he is the best to ever play.
In order to hit those outside shots, you may just want to get a little rhythm going from inside the 3-point arc with some layups or mid-range shots. Get a little mojo going, and those outside shots should start falling with relative ease.
After you begin to heat up, take the ball with Jordan and bring him to the wings along the arc. Call for a pick with L1/left bumper. Attack the hip of your screener at full speed with a turbo burst and find an opening along the 3-point arc. From there, just let it fly.
Another way to increase your shot percentage from the outside is to slow down. Spot up and set your feet in place with an active dribble. If you’re 25 feet away away and fully squared up, rise up and fire. Jordan’s shot motion has the necessary hang time to give you separation from your defender.
Defending Drexler can be a pit of a project. The Blazers will set up the offense to get Clyde "The Glide" open. Play over the top of screens and interfere with those passing lanes. Stay in front of Drexler and make him become a jump shooter. He will try to attack the rim off of screens, and if he has success, he won’t let up. Body him up holding L2/left trigger and running into him with turbo to throw him off his game when he drives.
March 28, 1995 @ Knicks
Regular Season Game
Score 55+ points
Shoot 55%+ from the field
Record 2+ assists
Win the game
It’s March 28, 1995. Madison Square Garden’s bright lights glisten off hardwood that emits basketball history. The stadium organ ignites the crowd’s defensive chants, but on this night that won't matter. MJ is back, and he's wearing the four-five.
Go head to head with John Starks (A- perimeter defense, 95 hard foul tendency rating), a tenacious defender against Jordan. He is physical, bodying up Jordan on every possession; this was a different era in the NBA. Post Starks up on the elbows and back him down. Once in the post, spin baseline (tap L2/left trigger) and attack. Starks simply does not have the strength to handle Jordan on the block.
Use your full repertoire that you have learned to this point -- after all, this is the seventh challenge. You should now fully own Jordan’s signature style. It’s just a matter of how to attack. Utilize the fakes, the in-and-outs, and the fade-away jumper -- use them all. At this point in his career, Jordan had too many weapons to be stopped.
Father’s Day Victory
June 16, 1996 vs. Sonics
Game 6, NBA Finals
Score 22+ points
Grab 9+ rebounds
Record 7+ assists
Win the game
Jordan led the running of the Bulls to a 72-10 record in the 1996 season.
Defeat Seattle with a slow-paced ball-possession game. Do not let the Sonics get out and run in George Karl’s west-coast offense. Seattle's quick guards and athletic forwards love to break out off turnovers and long rebounds.
Place Jordan at the small-forward position in the defensive settings screen. This will allow you to play off your man and to stay around the paint to go in for rebounds. Remember, nine rebounds will be needed to defeat the challenge.
Back down Hersey Hawkins (A- perimeter defense, F post defense) or Gary Payton (A+ perimeter defense, C- post defense). This will exploit the weakness of Seattle's guards and avoid playing into their strengths. Spinning baseline while in the post will allow you to attack with a live dribble, and it will also allow you to use the Shot Stick where you see an opening.
Once you begin to dominate your defenders in the post, double teams will rush you. Luckily, Jordan also has a great passing ability out of the post, so this is how you will get your assists. Avoid the double teams by facing up (hold L2/left trigger and down on left stick) and passing to your open shooters.
Take home your fourth title and let those tears of joy flow on this Father’s Day.
The Flu Game
June 11, 1997 @ Jazz
Game 5, NBA Finals
Score 38+ points
Grab 7+ rebounds
Record 5+ assists
Win the game
He sits on the bench dressed in his warm-up gear, jacket zipped tight under the chin. Holding a cup of Gatorade, he sits with his head down, eyes directed towards the floor, yet closed. He attempts to conserve every ounce of energy for this daunting challenge: playing basketball in the NBA Finals while dehydrated.
As a physically drained Jordan, this challenge is one of the more difficult tasks to accomplish. You are slower, and your outside shot has no lift; this essentially kills your perimeter game as Michael.
With no legs, it’s also tougher to finish at the rim. The solution is to get to the free-throw line as many times as you can. Take advantage of the Shot Stick, and the varying degrees of in-the-lane floaters and drifters. These are shots that don’t require much athletic ability, rather they just require the shot skill and timing that a seasoned veteran like Jordan possesses.
Once you get a step on a defender from 15 feet and in, try and launch into your shot animations that attack the basket. The Utah Jazz don’t have the most athletic bigs, and you should be able to draw contact and a whistle.
This is a great passing Jazz team. They set hard screens, and they are disciplined in their half-court sets. You must stay at home with your man while playing defense and crash the boards. The Jazz are aggressive and tough down low.
After you put up at least 38, seven and five, Scottie will carry you off the court while you lean on his shoulder, eyes glazed over and barely open. After the game, your most trusted sidekick tells the media you are "not only the greatest player ever, but the greatest leader ever."
Michael’s Last Dance
June 14, 1998 @ Jazz,
Game 6, NBA Finals
Score 45+ points
Get 4+ steals
Record 1+ assist
Win the game
Michael’s final challenge combines clutch shooting with impeccable defense -- the perfect representation of Jordan’s all-around game.
Defend and suffocate the smaller point guard John Stockton by moving Jordan over to the point-guard position at various points. Get up and play tight on him, and then attempt the on-ball steal when you have the right angle on the ball. Prepare to jump the passing lanes Stockton wants to use by watching where players are coming off screens. Extend your hands with the steal button to get in the way of the pass and pick up some cheap steals.
John Stockton (84 overall) and Karl Malone (90 overall) make up one of the best tag-team duos of all time. It was uncanny how in tune with each other they were during pick-and-roll sequences -- also a credit to Utah's Hall of Fame coach, Jerry Sloan. In other words, just try to survive during certain moments in this game.
As for The Shot.
Do a quick isolation on Bryon Russell at the top of the key. Double tap L2/left trigger, launching Jordan into an animation to size up your defender. Shoot at the precise moment the animation creates separation from Russell and then pose for the cameras.
These rules should guide you through the second set of challenges. If you need more tips completing these challenges, contact me directly on Playstation Network: sB414, or on Twitter @Hurricane414.