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1998 NBA Finals
1998 NBA Finals.jpg
Team Coach Wins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Utah Jazz Jerry Sloan 2
Dates: June 3 - June 14
MVP: Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Television: NBC (U.S.)
Announcers: Bob Costas, Doug Collins, and Isiah Thomas
Referees:
Game 1: Steve Javie, Ron Garretson, Bennett Salvatore
Game 2: Joe Crawford, Dan Crawford, Bill Oakes
Game 3: Hugh Evans, Steve Javie, Jack Nies
Game 4:
Game 6: Dick Bavetta, Dan Crawford, Eddie F. Rush
Hall of Famers: Michael Jordan (2009)
John Stockton (2009)
Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Jerry Sloan (2009)
Eastern Finals: Bulls defeat Pacers, 4-3
Western Finals: Jazz defeat Lakers, 4-0
 < 1997 NBA Finals 1999 > 

The 1998 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1997-98 National Basketball Association season. The Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference played against the Utah Jazz of the Western Conference, with the Jazz holding home-court advantage with the first 2 games in Salt Lake City. In a repeat of the previous year's Finals, the Bulls won the series 4 games to 2 to give the Bulls their third consecutive NBA title and their sixth in eight seasons. Michael Jordan was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series (he also had won the award the last five times the Bulls won the Finals: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997). This would be his sixth NBA championship and sixth Finals MVP award in six full basketball seasons, an unprecedented feat.

The 1998 Finals garnered the highest Nielsen TV Rating in NBA history at 18.7, and even surpassed the Nielsen Ratings for the 1998 World Series, making it the first time the NBA had a higher rating in its championship round than of Major League Baseball's title round.

Television: NBC Sports's team was Bob Costas, Hannah Storm (hosts), Doug Collins, Isiah Thomas, Bill Walton, John Salley, Peter Vescey (analysts), and Ahmad Rashad, and Jim Gray (Sideline Reporters).

Contents

1998 NBA Finals Roster

Chicago Bulls Utah Jazz
Head Coach: Phil Jackson Head Coach: Jerry Sloan
Michael Jordan Karl Malone
Scottie Pippen Jeff Hornacek
Dennis Rodman John Stockton
Toni Kukoc Bryon Russell
Ron Harper Shandon Anderson
Steve Kerr Adam Keefe
Scott Burrell Antoine Carr
Randy Brown Greg Foster
Dickey Simpkins Greg Ostertag
Bill Wennington Jacque Vaughn
Jud Buechler Troy Hudson
Joe Kleine William Cunningham
Luc Longley Howard Eisley

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 3 Utah 88-85 (OT) Chicago
Game 2 Friday, June 5 Utah 88-93 Chicago
Game 3 Sunday, June 7 Chicago 96-54 Utah
Game 4 Wednesday, June 10 Chicago 86-82 Utah
Game 5 Friday, June 12 Chicago 81-83 Utah
Game 6 Sunday, June 14 Utah 86-87 Chicago

Bulls win series 4-2

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. Predictions of a Jazz championship were strengthened with their Game 1 victory in overtime in Utah, but they won it in ugly fashion, with Scottie Pippen badly missing a wide open 3-pointer at the buzzer. True to form, the Bulls would tie 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.

Game 3, 4 and 5

The finals would move to Chicago with control of the series at stake in Game 3. Though anticipation was high, no one could have expected the blow-out of epic proportions 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) since the inception of the 24-second shot clock. Also, every player on the Bulls roster scored.

The Jazz would pull 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 the 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 with a 3-1 series deficit. 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 would be snuffed out when Michael Jordan missed an off-balance, potential game-winning 3-point shot, preserving the Jazz' narrow 83-81 win. Karl Malone had his best game of the series, scoring 39 points. With the series shifting back to Utah with a far more generous 3-2 Bulls advantage, the promise of another Chicago championship was not so certain.

Game 6

The Chicago Bulls had never let an NBA Finals series go to a Game Seven in their franchise history, and all but one of their previous five titles (the exception was in 1991) were clinched in the sixth game. Thus, winning Game Six in Salt Lake City was imperative for Chicago.

Yet, as they arrived at the Delta Center for Game 6, things did not look good for the Bulls. Scottie Pippen's back gave way when he dunked the opening basket of the game and he was slowed down, scoring only eight points the entire game. The Bulls were forced to rely almost entirely on Jordan to keep pace with Utah, 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 Howard Eisley's three-point make was out of his 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. With 41.9 seconds left, the Bulls suffered a jolt as John Stockton hit a clutch 3-point shot to give Utah an 86-83 lead and send the Delta Center into a frenzy.

After Michael Jordan made a layup to cut the Jazz lead to one, 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 (perhaps giving the push off),[1] and hit a 20-foot jump shot to give the Bulls an 87-86 lead with 5.2 seconds left. After a time-out, Stockton's three-point attempt hit the rim and bounced away, 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 the Finals MVP.

Quotes from the Finals

All that's missing for Utah is a blindfold and a cigarette.
NBC's Bob Costas on Chicago's blowout of Utah in Game 3.
17 seconds from Game 7, or from Championship number 6...Jordan, open...Chicago with the lead!! Time out Utah, 5.2 seconds left...Michael Jordan running on fumes with 45 points.
Bob Costas making the call of Michael Jordan's game-winning shot.
That may have been the last shot Michael Jordan ever made in the NBA...If that's the last image of Michael Jordan...how magnificent is it!?
Bob Costas describing Jordan's game-winner, his last shot as a Chicago Bull
Malone...stripped by Michael, to the floor, stolen by M.J.! Michael the steal! 16 seconds left, Bulls down one...Michael against Russell, 12 seconds...11...10. Jordan, Jordan, a drive, hangs...fires...SCORE!! He scores! The Bulls lead 87-86 with five and two-tenths left, and now they're one stop away! Oh my goodness...oh, my goodness!
Neil Funk calling Jordan's steal and game-winner on the Bulls' radio network.
There are so many things to look back on, but the Howard Eisley three that was taken away in the first half will eat at (the Jazz) all summer long.
Bob Costas just after the end of Game 6.

Trivia

  • The Bulls clinched their second three-peat in similar fashion to their first three-peat, having led both series 3-1, losing Game 5 in Chicago and winning Game 6 on the road to win the series. Their opponent held home court advantage both times, while the Bulls held it in every other finals. The first three-peat came against the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals.
  • Before the Finals, the Bulls had won only their second Game 7 (the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers) in their championship run dating back to 1991. In the 1992 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bulls beat the New York Knicks in Game 7 at Chicago Stadium.
  • This was the 2nd time the Bulls lost Game 1 in a Finals series, the other being in 1991 when they lost Game 1 to the Los Angeles Lakers. In six Finals series, the Bulls never trailed after Game 2. They were tied 1-1 in '91, '92 and '98 and led 2-0 in '93, '96 and '97.
  • Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan were members of all six Bulls' championship teams.
  • World Championship Wrestling was quick to capitalize on the mainstream media interest in the Finals, by featuring a match involving both Rodman and Malone. NBC play-by-play announcer Bob Costas, in particular, was a vocal critic of their involvement. At the 1998 Bash at the Beach, Rodman teamed with Hulk Hogan to defeat Malone and Diamond Dallas Page. It was the second appearance at the event for Rodman, having drawn controversy, an NBA fine, and the ire of Jackson the previous year for skipping practice for his involvement in professional wrestling then.
  • This is the only NBA Finals series to best the ratings for that year's World Series.
  • Game 6 would end up being the last NBA game of any kind to be played in the 1998 calendar year, as the lockout pushed back the start of the next season to February 1999.

See also

External links

From NBA official site

Other sites on the internet

References








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