- 1997 NBA Finals
NBA Finals summary
year = 1997
runnerup_games = 2
champion_games = 4
June 1- June 13
television = NBC (U.S.)
Marv Albert, Matt Guokas, and Bill Walton
HOFers = Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
referees_1 = Dan Crawford, Bill Oakes, and
Ed T. Rush
referees_5 = Game 5:
referees_6 = Game 6:
ECF result = Bulls defeat Heat, 4-1
WCF result = Jazz defeat Rockets, 4-2The 1997 NBA Finals was the concluding series of the
1997 NBA Playoffsthat determined the champion of the 1996–97 NBA season. The Utah Jazzof the Western Conference took on the Chicago Bullsof the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to collect four game victories wins the series.
The Bulls won the series 4 games to 2. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Bulls guard
Michael Jordanwas named the Most Valuable Player of the series.
In the 1996–97 season, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to a 69–13 record. The Bulls reached the Finals after sweeping the
Washington Bullets, and defeating both the Atlanta Hawksand Miami Heatfour games to one. In 1996–97, Utah was led by John Stocktonand Karl Malone, posting a franchise best 64–18 record. They reached the NBA Finals for the first time ever after sweeping the Los Angeles Clippersin the first round, winning over the Los Angeles Lakers4–1, and Houston Rockets4–2 to meet the Bulls in the Finals. A clutch three-pointer at the buzzer by John Stockton over Charles Barkleyin Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals sent the Jazz to the NBA Finals. This shot remains one of the highlight shots of the Jazz franchise.
The series between the Bulls and Jazz featured two of the more memorable clutch efforts of Michael Jordan's career. He won Game 1 for the Bulls with a buzzer-beating jump shot. The Jazz would eventually fight the first four games to a 2–2 tie. In Game 5, Jordan scored 38 points despite suffering from a stomach virus that had rendered him feverish and dehydrated at the start of the game as the Bulls pulled out a 90-88 win at the Delta Center. The Bulls went home up 3-2 in the series and came from behind to win the contest 90–86 after
Steve Kerrmade the go-ahead basket, and then Scottie Pippenmade a steal followed by when Toni Kukočmade the clinching dunk. The Bulls won the series in six games.
eries scoring summary
The following scoring summary is written in a
line scoreformat, except that the quarter numbers are replaced by game numbers.
June 6, at the Delta Center"
The Chicago Bulls would start off the first three quarters with mediocre play, despite Scottie Pippen tying the NBA Finals record with seven 3 pointers. Utah was led by Karl Malone who scored 37 points and had 10 rebounds. Chicago attempted a 4th quarter comeback, but ultimately Utah would win their first game of the series. The Jazz fans welcomed their proud Western Conferences champs with force. During the starting lineups of the Jazz, The Bulls players plugged their ears, due to the loud cheers and fireworks within the Delta Center. With the Bulls trailing by 24 points in the second quarter Michael Jordan threw down an alley oop slam which drew loud boos from the crowd.
June 13, at the United Center"
Game 6 could simply be remembered as the Shandon Anderson blunder show. Anderson missed several easy layups that could have easily forced a game 7. Michael Jordan was not fully recovered from the flu, but was feeling much better and led the Bulls with 39 points. Chicago struggled in the first half scoring just 37 points and 9 of 27 from 2 point range With the Bulls struggling in the third quarter Michael Jordan dunked after a steal, bringing the crowd to its feet and Jud Buechler buried a great 3 point shot to help give the Bulls the momentum. The Bulls trailed by 9 points early in the fourth quarter but went on a 10-0 run to take their first lead since the opening minutes when Steve Kerr hit a 3-pointer, but the Jazz would regain the lead and the game will remain one possession until the final score. In the final minutes, Jordan's fadeaway on the baseline put the Bulls up by 3, before Bryon Russell hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 86-86. The two teams would fail to score on their next possessions. With 28 seconds left after Shandon Anderson missed a reverse layup, the Jazz expected Jordan to take the final shot. Instead, Jordan passed off to Steve Kerr, who hit a jumper with 5 seconds left to send the United Center crowd into a frenzy. The Jazz looked for one final shot to stay alive, but Scottie Pippen made a massive defensive play as he knocked away Bryon Russell's inbound pass intended for Shandon Anderson and was able to pass the ball over to Toni Kukoc, who dunked the final 2 points of the game before the roaring crowd to bring the Finals to an end. Afterwards, Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP.
Quotes from the Finals
cquote|"The Mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays." —
Scottie Pippen, to Jazz power forward Karl Malonebefore he took two free throws near the end of the first game. Malone would miss "both" throws with under a minute left in the fourth quarter, allowing the Bulls to keep the game tied. Jordan's heroic last shot won the game for the Bulls.
cquote|"MJ, top of the circle, against Russell. Michael hangs, fires...SCORES!! The Bulls win!! He knocked it in at the buzzer, Bulls win! How many times has he done that?" - Bulls announcer
Neil Funkafter Jordan's jumper at the buzzer gave Chicago an 84-82 win in Game 1
cquote|"Down to one, here's Jordan....YES!! It is all over! The Chicago Bulls have won at the buzzer in game 1 of the best of 7..." - NBC commentator
Marv Albertduring the aforementioned game
cquote|"Stockton fires down to Malone....And the Jazz have taken a one point lead!" - Marv Albert on Stockton's key play in Game 4. The Jazz won this game to tie the series at 2.
cquote|"A courageous, classic performance by the flu-ridden Michael Jordan." - Marv Albert after Michael's improbable performance in Game 5, which gave the Bulls a 3-2 series lead.
cquote|"Kerr, still with the dribble. Looking...dump to Pippen. Scottie, bumped by Shandon Anderson, hands it to Michael. Six seconds (on the shot clock)...five. Michael, in traffic, to Kerr. Fifteen-footer...YES!! He knocked it in! Kerr buried the jumper, five seconds left! The Bulls lead is two! Stevie Kerr knocked it in! He took the pass from Michael and stuffed the jumper! Wow!" - Neil Funk after
Steve Kerrnailed a fifteen-foot jumper to give the Bulls an 88-86 lead in Game 6. The Bulls would win this game and their fifth NBA championship.
*The Bulls won their second straight title from their first three-peat in similar fashion, winning Games 5 and 6 with the series tied 2–2, and clinching the series at home, like they did in the
1992 NBA Finalsseries with the Portland Trail Blazers.
*Until 2008, this was the last time an Eastern Conference team had home-court advantage in the Finals.
1997 NBA Playoffs
* [http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19961997.html NBA History]
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