86 CELTICS vs. 96 BULLS.....who would win?

a best of 7 series??

15 Answers

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    Most people in this section developed an awareness for the game of basketball during that second bulls run (pure observation on my part) and really don't realize how much tougher the league was just 10 years prior. Jordan was a far better player than he was in the 90's yet he couldn't sniff a ring until all of the old war horses of the era ran out of gas (baby boomer effect). So while the bulls are to be commended for showing up every night, the one thing that MJ always did, we must remember it was done in a league on the down slide.

    Ainge vs. Harper- Ainge by a mile: Harper was a shell of himself athletically and even in his prime he never had the mental toughness to play winning basketball. Ainge would not only out athleticize Harper the constant mental pressure he would place on him (or Kerr when inserted), would force him to make several mistakes.

    D.J. vs. Jordan- Jordan: D.J. would do a far better job defending this Jordan as his athleticism was nowhere near what it was in the 80's which is why by that point he spent a lot of time on the post. Well D.J. was a mule out there with long arms so those gimmie post up turnarounds Jordan had wouldn't be that easy & wouldn't demand a double team. DJ offensively would do what he always does; initiate the offense, penetrate when there and come up with a clutch play when the Celts need it.

    Bird vs. Pippen- Bird by a mile: Scottie Pippen is the most overrated player of the 90's and while he was a great defender his mental weakness couldn't handle what Bird was going to bring. Not only was Bird a great player, he was also his era's biggest trash talker (guy makes Gary Payton seem like a saint) and would flat out verbally abuse Pippen to the point Phil would prob. rotate Jordan and Harper on Bird. Folks Pippen was a mental mess & when the squirrels in his mind started running those 19 garbage pts. he would average disappeared faster than Lamar Odom's productivity on the road.

    McHale vs. Rodman- McHale not even close: I love Rodman, but that guy isn't a 4 and the only reason he was able to get away with it back then was the lack of mental toughness throughout the league (was still playing Piston ball). However, these are the Celtics and those tactics Detroit made famous were routinely used against them by THIS Celtics team. McHale would demand an auto double (which would send the bulls into a scramble) and still dominate this series.

    Parish vs. Longley- Parish by a mile: Another huge problem for the Bulls would be that Parish would demand an auto double as well. Luc was a terrible post defender and was on the court only because of his offensive promise that never fully maxed out. Parish was longer, more athletic, far superior in the fundamentals, great defender and a whole lot meaner!

    Bench- Celts by a Mile: A few of those names on the Bulls bench may look good (Kukoc, Kerr, Salley, Edwards), but the only one worth a salt under pressure was Kerr (Salley rarely played and Edwards didn't play & Kukoc was weaker than Pippen).

    Coaching- Jones: Believe it or not Phil couldn't x & o his way out of his own house and that smug feeling that we've become accustomed to would be replaced with an oh crap persona.

    Intestinal Fortitude- CELTICS: The Bulls only had two (that saw minutes) mentally tough players in Jordan & Rodman, while everyone that saw meaningful minutes on the Celtics was a battle proven player that did whatever it took to win.

    All the Celtics will do is force Jordan to beat them individually (which he couldn't do in his prime) and not allow the other players to get garbage pts. off of his gravy train. No other starter for the Bulls could consistently get their own quality shot and this would kill them. Heck we could even say Pippen could get his own shot (which would be a lie) and that would still leave 3 players out on the court that needed to be spoon fed buckets. Compare that with the Celts who had 5 starters that could take the ball & score on their own without Bird's help.

    Celtics win it easy 4-1

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  • dupaty
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Bulls Vs Celtics

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    86 CELTICS vs. 96 BULLS.....who would win?

    a best of 7 series??

    Source(s): 86 celtics 96 bulls win: https://shortly.im/YjEMy
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  • 4 years ago

    The bulls starting 5 would be kerr,mike,scottie,kukoc, and longley. Kerr vs dj would be interesting. Ainge has no prayer of guarding mike so bird would have to. Ainge can't guard scottie either so mchale would have to and unfortunately for mchale he's not good enough defensively to handle him. Kukoc is going to terrorize whoever you put at 4 because he has handles like a guard, can drive the lane,shoot the 3 and the j not to mention he's 6'10. At 5 you can put longley like it even matters. Bulls in 5. Ainge was never good enough especially when Mike had scottie look at why he went 0-2 in those finals

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  • 10 years ago

    Bulls 4-2.

    The Bulls big men were tough enough to handle McHale and Parish.

    The Bulls also have a big advantage at the guards for starters and bench.

    Pippen and Bird would be a good match-up.

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  • 10 years ago

    1996 Bulls wins in the epic best of 7 series, 4 games to 3

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  • 10 years ago

    The great Boston Celtics of 1986 which became champion at the end of the season were a phenomenal bunch. Their starting 5 is as great as any starting 5 nowadays (imagine them being able to match-up with current team despite being around 20+ years ago), that plus the aging but still reliable Bill Walton. Great line-up really, but matching up against the Bulls of '96 who got at least 4 do it all players (Jordan, Pippen, Harper and Kukoc, who was still at his best) and a hell of a pesky defender of a Rodman and a whole lot of bodies to sacrifice against the formidable Boston frontline (you got Longley, Wennington, Salley, Caffey) you can't deny that they are overmatched here.

    Phil could just have put Rodman at Bird distracting him, and put the other's bodies against the other part of the Big Three and you got a match-up. Bird may cut down Rodman to fouls but that's the time you put on Pippen on him. Plus the fact that Boston have a history of not keeping up with Jordan. Chicago at the time had a great mixture of stars and support cast to fuel it's run, it's really no wonder that they made 72 wins with that roster... A big factor to consider also is the fact that Phil Jackson is the principal philosopher of the Bulls parade.

    Hope this helps.

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    @ Roscoe: I value your opinion, but I also have this itch of disagreeing to some of the scenarios raised.

    1. In the Ainge vs. Harper match-up you stressed that Harper "never had the mental toughness to play winning basketball". But need I remind the answerer that Harper was the starting PG for the Bulls 1996-98 and Lakers 2000-2001 and those were championship teams. 5 championships overall. To give someone the position of starter mans confidence in your ability to do certain things for the betterment of the team. May not be as flashy as his Cavs version but he's effective enough as any championship player could.

    2. DJ vs. Jordan. When did Jordan not demand a double team? Single coverage him and your good as cooked as Bryon Russell, and wasn't the 1986 Boston Celtics the same team lit up with 63 points in a play-off game? Best memory I had of Jordan in 1996 was he was regularly hitting 30's point mark.

    3. Larry Bird was at his peak during this year and it can be said that Pippen has his hands full on this one. I don't like the way you seem to belittle Pip on this match-up when Pippen single-handedly defended Magic Johnson himself in the 1991 Finals. That takes a lot of guts, ok sure Larry is more of a good shooter than Magic but making Larry a shooter cuts off some of Bird's effectiveness bu making him a perimeter player Jordan and Pippen can zero in on the entry passes that they effectively done in the past.

    4. Again belittling Rodman, But did you know that Rodman was tasked to handle Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal and Shawn Kemp during the course of that play-offs? Kevin McHale could do so much but these guys I mentioned are on their primes and were at at HOF levels when the Bulls met them in the play-offs.

    1986 Boston Celtics is more of a half-court set team, that is because of their size advantage, but I believe the 1996 Bulls were more than capable of handling these type of teams. In the play-offs they gave Miami 0 wins, New York only 1 win (that despite NY giving Houston a hard time on the 1994 finals), Magic 0 wins (despite not having a legit center on their side to match-up with O'Neal), and Seattle only 2 wins.

    And with these reasons I believe the Bulls deserved their 72 wins. They worked as a team they fight as a team.

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  • Rob K
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Solid question; about two of the greatest teams of All-Time. It would obviously be a 7 game series. In my mind, I'd choose the more complete team, and that was the 1986 Celtics. While Basketball was extremely competitive in the 90s, it was off the charts better in the 80s at the time of this Celtics team which had 5 Hall Of Famers (Bird, McHale, Parish, Dennis Johnson and Bill Walton off the bench), but that Bulls team was ranked 1st in Offensive Rating and 1st in Defensive Rating on their way to a 72 win season. The Celtics were no slouches either; this would be the third title in the 80s they'd win, with a 3rd in Offensive Rating, and 1st in Defensive Rating in the better era of basketball.

    Some incredible matchups here; (Note: Dennis Johnson was the Celtics PG; but as he was their best guard defender, he'll be handling duties of Michael Jordan.)

    PG -- Danny Ainge vs Ron Harper; Ainge was the better offensive player here, one of five C's who averaged in double figures, but Harper was a fantastic perimeter defender. However; Ainge was as well, even with Harper at the time's limited offensive game. Edge: Danny Ainge

    SG -- Michael Jordan vs Dennis Johnson -- In our first Hall of Fame battle, the vastly underrated Dennis Johnson, who did a very good job at containing Magic Johnson in their Finals win in 83-84 would be atleast a 'challenge' to Michael here. Dennis was quite the pest with his long reach, and his ability to get in to the passing lanes. That said, I don't believe he'd be able to stop Michael of course; so the edge to Jordan. Edge: Michael Jordan

    SF -- Larry Bird vs Scottie Pippen -- In the series best matchup; Bird vs Pippen would be a fun battle to watch. Bird's creativity versus Pippen's athleticism on full display. Pippen was an elite defender; but Bird in 86 was still in his prime as the top player in the league, who could do it all from pass, score and rebound. Pippen in 96 was no different, the prime of his career. This one is a wash. Edge: Even

    PF -- Dennis Rodman vs Kevin McHale -- In another fun matchup here of two post beasts, we've got the Power Forward with the greatest footwork ever in McHale, and the best rebounder and possibly defender in the post ever. This would be a crucial matchup in the series. If McHale, who had a knack for getting in players heads was able to get into the volitale mind of the Worm; there could be foul issues for Rodman. Rodman would limit McHale's points, but Kevin was an excellent passer. Still this is probably a wash. Edge: Even.

    C -- Robert Parish vs Luc Longley -- While Longley was 'decent', he was seldom used for anything other then grabbing boards, or setting high picks on the perimeter. Parish ran the floor like a cheetah, played intense defense in the post, and occasionally if needed could get it done with scoring. Parish is the easy call, and could prove big in the series, with the Trio of Bird, McHale, and Parish taking the C's game into the post, where the Bulls even with Rodman were smaller then the Celtics. Edge: Robert Parish

    Bench: As far as 'depth' I like the Celtics here. While the Bulls did have Kukoc and Kerr off the bench, it realy ends there in terms of solid contributors. Bill Walton (who won 6th man of the year) Cedric Maxwell, Quinn Buckner, etc

    Coach: I give the edge to Phil Jackson; though KC Jones, who played on those 60s Celtics teams was no slouch of a coach.

    I like the Celtics in 7; they had 4 guys who averaged over 7 rebounds per game, and their overall size and the ability to play different styles of play; whether it was running the floor, the half-court set or in the post, gives them a slight edge over the Bulls here. This is my dream-series if I could choose one. (Though I might have selected the 83-84 Celtics; but both Celtics teams were amazing)

    People might not agree; but the competition was better in the 80s; and this Celtics team like the others before it in the 80s were dominant.

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  • Kaz
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Bulls. I don't think their big three would match well with Chicago's. It would have been a great series though

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  • 10 years ago


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