Michael Jordan, 6-6 starting guard - Mr. Everything for theBulls, bailing out the defending champions when the pressure was on against New York and Cleveland. With a 34.0 playoff scoring average, he's the only Chicago player who has increased his scoring from the regular season. He's also taken 53 more shots in 16 playoff games than the combined total of the Bulls' next two leading scorers, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. Jordan's shooting percentage has fallen to 48.9 percent with his increased scoring load.
Scottie Pippen, 6-7 starting forward - With 29 points in Game 6
against Cleveland, Pippen matched Jordan in scoring for the first time in 16 postseason games. The Knicks and Cavaliers harassed Pippen unmercifully in the last two rounds, but he's still averaging 18.9 points in the playoffs and combines with Jordan and Grant in a formidable defensive trio that matches anyone in size and quickness at their positions.
Horace Grant, 6-10 starting forward - Grant willingly subordi
nates his offensive game to Jordan and Pippen and concentrates on defense and rebounding. His 9.2 rebounding average in the playoffs leads both teams, and he has just nine fewer offensive rebounds than defensive, presenting a big challenge for Buck Williams.
John Paxson, 6-2 starting guard - Paxson is the perfect comple
ment to the slashing moves of Jordan and Pippen, waiting in the wings for defenses to collapse on the two All-Stars. When Paxson's open, he can be devastating, as evidenced by his performance in the 1991 Finals and his 52.8 percent shooting in the playoffs.
Bill Cartwright, 7-1 starting center - Cartwright's 34-year-old
body doesn't move with much agility, but he presented a solid defensive obstacle to high-scoring centers Patrick Ewing and Brad Daugherty. Cartwright's averaging just 5.3 points in the playoffs, but twice scored in double figures against Cleveland.
B. J. Armstrong, 6-2 backup guard - Armstrong is a change of pace from Paxson on offense, slithering into openings in a manner similar to Jordan and Pippen. Armstrong's 18 points in Game 2 of the series against the Knicks prevented the Bulls from falling behind 2-0. His 7.9 scoring average in the playoffs surpasses Paxson's 7.0 at 5.4 fewer minutes.
Cliff Levingston, 6-8 backup forward - Levingston has gotten more time as the playoffs progress, with his quickness and defensive intensity increasingly catching coach Phil Jackson's eye. He played a key role in the pivotal Game 5 against Cleveland, scoring 12 points. He also keyed a fourth-quarter rally in Game 4.
Scott Williams, 6-10 backup center - Williams has taken over from Will Perdue as the No. 1 backup to Cartwright after seeing little action in the 1991 Finals. Williams is averaging 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 12.1 minutes in the playoffs, but got more playing time in the conference finals, improving to 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 15 minutes in the first five games before going scoreless in Game 6.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Clyde Drexler, 6-7 starting guard - The only player in the
NBA who can match Jordan athletically. And unlike last year's Jordan-Magic Johnson Finals, they will be guarding each other most of the time in a matchup of 1-2 finishers in the MVP voting. Drexler's averaging 26.9 points, 7.7 assists and 7.2 rebounds in the playoffs. He was even more spectacular in the second round against Phoenix, averaging 31.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.0 assists and shooting 51.3 percent from the field. In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Drexler set a team playoff record with 42 points.
Terry Porter, 6-3 starting guard - Porter has raised his game in
the playoffs after averaging a disappointing 18.1 points and 5.8 assists in the regular season. In the postseason, he's averaging 23.5 points and 7.5 assists and is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, including 52.3 percent from 3-point range. He scored a career-high 41 points in Game 2 against Utah, hitting 12 of 14 shots, including 4 of 5 3-pointers. He shot 64.3 percent on 3-pointers in the first round against the Lakers.
Jerome Kersey, 6-7 starting forward - Like the Drexler-Jordan
matchup, the Kersey-Pippen duo pairs two outstanding athletes. But while Pippen has raised his game to Olympic stature, Kersey's scoring has dropped for four consecutive years from a high of 19.2 in 1987-88 to 12.6 this season. Kersey has picked it up in the playoffs, however, averaging 20.3, 20.7 and 17.9 the last three postseasons and 16.8 this year.
Buck Williams, 6-8 starting forward - A savvy, veteran forward
who doesn't put up the numbers he once did, but still won second-team all-NBA defensive honors, a vital asset in stopping Chicago's game underneath the basket and Horace Grant's size and quickness inside. Williams won the NBA field-goal percentage title for the regular season for the second straight year by shooting 60.4 percent. He's had double-figure scoring and rebounding games in 502 regular-season contests in his 11-year career.
Kevin Duckworth, 7-2 starting center - Duckworth is another
regular-season disappointment who has improved in the playoffs. He's averaging 12.9 points in the postseason, including 13.7 points on 59.4 percent shooting against Utah in the conference finals. The widebody Duckworth-Cartwright battle has sumo wrestling undertones.
Cliff Robinson, 6-10 backup center-forward - Robinson is Portland's only frontcourt reserve averaging 10 minutes per game in the playoffs, and he presents problems to the Bulls the same way John Williams did for the Cavaliers. When he's in the game for Duckworth, Portland's speed steps up several notches.
Danny Ainge, 6-3 backup guard - Ainge is the Blazers' designated outside scorer off the bench, hitting both of his 3-pointers in their final-game victory over the Jazz and improving his 3-point accuracy to 48.6 for the playoffs. A key member of two NBA championship teams for the Boston Celtics.