- 1998 NBA Finals
NBA Finals summary
year = 1998
runnerup_games = 2
champion_games = 4
June 3- June 14
television = NBC (U.S.)
Bob Costas, Doug Collins, and Isiah Thomas
HOFers = Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
ECF result = Bulls defeat Pacers, 4-3
WCF result = Jazz defeat Lakers, 4-0The 1998 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1997-98 National Basketball Association season. The
Chicago Bullsof the Eastern Conference played against the Utah Jazzof the Western Conference, with the Jazz holding home-court advantage. 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.
NBC( Bob Costas, Isiah Thomasand Doug Collinsannouncing)
1998 NBA Finals Roster
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 a blow-out of the proportions seen in Game 3. With a 96-54 triumph over Utah, the Bulls would help the Jazz set an embarrassing 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.
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 all game. Tensions ran high in the Delta Center when the Jazz discovered problems of their own. They suffered several shot clock violations, including one on a successful three-point attempt by
Howard Eisley. Television replays showed, however, that Eisley got the ball out of his hands in time before the shot clock hit zero and the referees missed the call.Fact|date=February 2008 In the fourth quarter, the Bulls closed the gap. 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. Down by three, the Bulls had one last chance to stay alive. Running perilously low on energy, the Bulls knew they must win the game in regulation, and not have to play overtime.
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 (it is argued that he pushed off on Russell [ [http://www.nypost.com/seven/08172007/sports/former_nba_ref_blasts_officiating_sports_fred_kerber.htm Former NBA Ref Blasts Officiating] , New York Post, 17 August 2007] ), 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 in many records, was named the Finals MVP.
Quotes from the Finals
*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. The first threepeat came against the
Phoenix Sunsin 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 Knicksin 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 Wrestlingwas quick to capitalize on the mainstream media interest in the Finals, by featuring a match involving both Rodman and Malone. NBCplay-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 Hoganto 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 wrestlingthen.
*This is the only NBA Finals series to best the ratings for that year's
1998 NBA Playoffs
The following sites are all from the NBA official site:
* [http://www.nba.com/history/playoffs/19971998.html 1998 Playoff Results]
* [http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19971998.html 1998 NBA Finals Recap]
* [http://www.nba.com/history/98jordan_moments.html Michael Jordan's Shot in Game 6]
The following links are to other sites on the
* [http://internetfm.com/srn/finals98.htm 1998 NBA Finals Summary and Linescores]
* [http://www.nba.com/playoffs2004/greatest_finals_moments.html Greatest Finals Moments]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WULyz1-OQc Michael Jordan's Final Shot 98]
* [http://www.jumptheshark.com/n/nbaonnbc.htm Top NBA on NBC sports moments]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-cruzcaYDM Nike Commercial spoof of "The Shot"]
* [http://www.nypost.com/seven/08172007/sports/former_nba_ref_blasts_officiating_sports_fred_kerber.htm Former NBA official's take on Jordan's series-winning shot]
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