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This Day in Sports History: May 31

Recapping events that took place in the sports world on this day

The history of sports is both vast and rich, thanks to the existence of so many different ones and the longevity associated with them. With so much history to cull through, Athlon Sports wanted to offer the opportunity to look back and see what memorable things happened or milestones were reached on a specific date.

 

With that in mind, May 31 is a day in which many great NBA playoffs moments took place and Usain Bolt set a world record.

 

1983: Moses Malone scored 24 points and snagged 23 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-108 at Great Western Forum to win the NBA Finals in a sweep. Before the playoffs, Malone predicted that the 76ers would go "fo, fo, fo," meaning they would not lose a game. He was close to correct. Philadelphia's only blemish was a 100-94 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

1989: The Detroit Pistons held Michael Jordan to 18 points using their aggressive defense known as "The Jordan Rules" in a 94-85 win over the Chicago Bulls to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons went on to win the series in six games.

 

1999: San Antonio Spurs forward Sean Elliott hit a three-pointer with nine seconds to go to take the final lead in an 86-85 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Alamodome in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The play is known as the "Memorial Day Miracle" because Elliott was playing with kidney disease that would soon require a transplant, the Spurs were down by 18 in the third quarter, and the ball was nearly stolen by Stacey Augmon and the shot nearly blocked by Rasheed Wallace.

 

 

2002: New Jersey Nets point guard Jason Kidd scored 15 points, snagged 13 rebounds, and made 13 assists in a 96-88 victory over the Boston Celtics at the FleetCenter to win the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. The Nets made their first trip to the NBA Finals, where they were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

2007: LeBron James scored 48 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Detroit Pistons 109-107 in double overtime at The Palace of Auburn Hills to take a 3-2 lead in Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs went on to win the series in six games.

 

2008: Usain Bolt set a world record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 9.72 seconds at the Reebok Grand Prix at New York City’s Icahn Stadium. Bolt has since broken his own record twice.

 

2009: Robin Soderling upset Rafael Nadal in four sets in the fourth round of the French Open in Paris. Soderling lost to Roger Federer in the final.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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