|Michael Jordan and the Bulls|
beat the Jazz twice in the NBA Finals
The beginning of the 1990's picked up right where the '80's left off in the NBA. The game was up-tempo, good shooters were abundant and fans were treated to a nice blend of inside/outside offensive styles. From 1982-1992 teams averaged 107 points per game in the playoffs. Magic, Larry and Michael had brought us halcyon times.
Then a sea change. Magic Johnson retired and Pat Riley went to coach the Knicks.
During the '93 playoffs teams scored just under 100 points per game. The next year was more extreme with shooting at it's lowest since the '70s and pace grinding to a halt. Scoring dipped to 94 points/game throughout those playoffs. Defense dominated the Knicks/Rockets NBA Finals when both teams scored 86 points a game.
The league decided that in order to make the game more appealing they needed to boost scoring. The three-point line was moved in nearly two feet beginning with the 1995 season. Shooting immediately jumped to an all-time high for the playoffs. Games in the '95 Finals were played in the 110's as three's rained down from the hands of Penny Hardaway and Robert Horry.
The three-point line was kept in for two more seasons until 1998 when shooting was back on the decline.
With that background out of the way....
Top NBA Playoff Performers of the 1990's
ranked by NET Points
Bold indicates decade record
*Thanks to the Basketball-Reference Play Index
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Performers of the 1980's Performers of the 2000's