Pistons were on track for their second straight NBA championship in 1990. In the Eastern Conference Finals they won the the first two games in Detroit and lost the third game in Chicago after a 47 point performance by Jordan.
In this 4th game, Bulls opens up a big lead early on and finishes the half with a 19 point lead. (51-33). As expected Pistons does not go away easily and cut down the lead to just 3 points at the end of third.
19 of Jordan's 42 points comes in the fourth quarter when they desperately foul him virtually on every occasion he drives the lane. The only Bulls players to sink a shot in the final quarter are Cartwright (2) and Paxson (1).
Jordan finishes with 42pts (13-26), game-high 9 asts, 4 rbs, 4stls, and 3 blks. Pippen who has 14pts/6rbs is in foul trouble most of the game. Grant with 11 points. Paxson is the best of the supporting cast with 17 points and 7 assists.
For the Pistons, Rodman has a great night with 20 points 20 rebounds (10 offensive). Isiah finishes with 26/8/8 but both he and Dumars struggle against the half court trap implemented by the Bulls which cost them a total of 22 turnovers. Defensively The Bulls are great. In fact, after the game Phil Jackson says this is the best game they played all year.
Some notes and post game quotes from the game:
"As (Bulls coach) Phil Jackson said last game, Jordan ruled," Pistons coach Chuck Daly said. "He did it again. He got his 40."
"The Bulls intensity in the first half was amazing," Daly said. "We made a great run, but they were not to be denied."
The Bulls led 57-38 early in the third period when Joe Dumars scored 17 of his 24 points in only seven minutes, pulling the Pistons within three points. But Jordan, held to three points in the third quarter, took over after that and the Pistons could get no closer.
"A few of us were getting tired in the third period and I took myself out for a while," Jordan said. "They got us out of our offense but we waited for our opportunities again. We maintained our defensive pressure and made the key shots down the stretch."
"This is the best 48 minutes we've played all year," Jordan said. "Call it maturity, poise, concentration, whatever. But for us to hold off a team of Detroit's magnitude, that really says something."
"They were double-teaming me and Paxson made them pay," Jordan said.
"We're just playing good defense," Grant said. "The trapping defense played a very key part. Without that, we give them the opportunity to come down and set up their half-court offense. I think we have some very quick guards led by Michael. "