For just the fifth time in NBA history and the first time in 13 years, three teammates are on the all-defensive first team.
Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman all were selected to the first team, which was announced on Thursday."Our defense was our offense," Jordan said after the Bulls held the New York Knicks without a field goal for 71/2 minutes of the fourth quarter Tuesday night in a 91-80 win that extended Chicago's lead to 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Jordan, Rodman and Pippen were joined on the all-defensive team by David Robinson of San Antonio and Gary Payton of Seattle, who earlier was selected as the league's defensive player of the year.
Philadelphia's Moses Malone, Bobby Jones and Maurice Cheeks were the last three teammates named to the all-defensive team in 1982-83. That team won the championship with a 12-1 playoff record.
Pippen received 55 of a possible 56 points in voting by the 29 NBA coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players. Jordan got 53 and Rodman 30. Payton got 48 points and Robinson 42.
The second team consisted of Orlando's Horace Grant and Indiana's Derrick McKey at forward; Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon at center; and Atlanta's Mookie Blaylock and Cleveland's Bobby Phills at guard.
Chicago's defense was often overlooked during the Bulls' record season.
"It's what made us a good team this year even though our offense led the league," coach Phil Jackson said. "We got a lot of offense off our defense."
"They have the best defense in the league," said former Detroit coach Chuck Daly, now a television analyst. "Jordan and Pippen can take your top two scorers out of a game. And then there's Dennis Rodman to rebound."
That's worked even as the offense has sputtered against New York.
"I think our defensive intensity, really putting pressure on them down the stretch, is putting pressure on them to find some offense," Pippen said. "We've been able to shut them down when they've needed offense."