Watch 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz Game 1
Watch 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz Game 2
Games 1 and 2
Unlike the 1997 Finals, the Jazz and Bulls entered this series as equals. The Jazz had won both regular season match-ups with the Bulls, and many analysts predicted a hard-fought seven-game series. The two teams entered the Finals on completely different notes; the Jazz had swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and would have a total of ten days rest before the Finals began. The Bulls, meanwhile, needed seven games to get past the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and had just two days rest before having to travel to Utah. Predictions of a Jazz championship were strengthened with their Game 1 victory in overtime in Utah, with Scottie Pippen badly missing a wild 3 at the buzzer. True to form, the Bulls tied the series in Game 2 while putting together a huge fourth-quarter run to silence the Delta Center and holding on to win 93-88, finally securing their first victory against Utah all season. Karl Malone shot very poorly in the first two games of the series with some dreadful misses including one rushed layup in Game 2 that hit the underside of the rim.
Watch 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz Game 3
Watch 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz Game 4
Watch 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz Game 5
The finals moved to Chicago with control of the series at stake in Game 3. Though anticipation was high, no one could have expected the blow-out seen in Game 3. In a 96-54 humiliation, the Jazz set the record for the lowest points scored in Finals history, as well as the lowest number of points scored in any NBA game (since eclipsed by a score of 49 from the Bulls on April 10, 1999) since the inception of the shot clock. Also, every player on the Bulls roster scored.
The Jazz pulled themselves together in Game 4 in a better, though vain attempt to tie the series, but lost 86–82. Dennis Rodman, who skipped practice between games to attend a wrestling event, was an unlikely hero, hitting critical free-throws at the end of Game 4, and shutting down Malone throughout the game.
The Jazz' early series-lead seemed like a distant memory, a false indication of a tough series as they entered Game 5 down 3–1 in the series. Chicago fans prepared for the last game they would host with the Jordan-led Bulls of the 90's. But any notions of a championship on the home floor died when Michael Jordan airballed an off-balance, catch-and-shoot 3 at the buzzer, preserving Utah's narrow 83-81 victory after they almost blew a 7-point lead in the last 2 minutes. Karl Malone had his best game of the series, scoring 39 points. Antoine Carr made all 5 of his field goal attempts, mainly on 20-foot jumpers in the second half. With the series shifting back to Utah with a far more generous 3-2 Bulls advantage, the promise of another Chicago championship wasn't so certain.
Watch 1998 NBA Finals Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz Game 6
The Chicago Bulls had never let an NBA Finals go to a Game 7 in franchise history, and all but one of their previous 5 titles (the exception was in 1991) were clinched in the sixth game, so winning Game 6 in Utah was imperative for Chicago.
Yet, as they arrived at the Delta Center for Game 6, things didn't look good for the Bulls. Scottie Pippen, whose back was already injured going into the game, aggravated his injury when he dunked the opening basket of the game. He scored only 8 points the entire game. To keep pace with Utah, the Bulls were forced to rely almost entirely on Jordan, who scored 23 points in the first half. Emotions ran high at the Delta Center when the Jazz discovered problems of their own when they suffered a couple of shot clock violations. TV replays showed that the ball was out of Howard Eisley's hands before the shot clock hit zero and referee Dick Bavetta missed the call. The Bulls behind Jordan tied the game with a minute left. The Bulls then received a jolt as John Stockton hit a clutch 3 with 41.9 seconds left to give Utah an 86-83 lead and send the Delta Center into a frenzy.
After Michael Jordan made a layup to make it 86–85, the Bulls needed to stop the Jazz from scoring again. When John Stockton passed the ball to Karl Malone, Michael Jordan stole the ball away and dribbled to the front. Guarding him was Bryon Russell, one of the Jazz's best perimeter defenders. Jordan drove inside the 3-point line, crossed over Russell (possibly pushing off Russell), and hit a 20-footer to give the Bulls an 87-86 lead with 5.2 seconds left. After a time-out, Stockton's 3-point attempt rattled out, giving the Bulls their sixth NBA title in 8 years. Jordan, who scored 45 points, and whose game-winning shot has been immortalized around the world, was named Finals MVP.
BOX SCORES1998 NBA Finals Game 1 Box Score - View
1998 NBA Finals Game 2 Box Score - View
1998 NBA Finals Game 3 Box Score - View
1998 NBA Finals Game 4 Box Score - View
1998 NBA Finals Game 5 Box Score - View
1998 NBA Finals Game 6 Box Score - View
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