Most Memorable Games Between Michael Jordan, Utah Jazz From 1996-98
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan had a lot of success against the Utah Jazz in the late 1990’s, including two championships that broke the hearts of many Jazz fans.
In honor of “The Last Dance” documentary on ESPN that features the final season of the Chicago Bulls dynasty with Michael Jordan, the KSL Sports team takes a look back at every matchup between Jordan and the Jazz.
In the 4 meetings in the regular season against the Jazz from 1996-98, Jordan averaged 34.7 points per game while posting 32.9 points per game in the two NBA Finals meetings against the Jazz. Utah had a 1-3 record in the regular season against the Bulls in the games he played in during that span.
In the postseason, Jordan and the Bulls were 8-4 against the Jazz.
Karl Malone averaged 32 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in four regular season meetings against the Bulls. In the 12 NBA Finals games against the Bulls, Malone posted 24.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, John Stockton recorded 13.5 points and 13 assists in the regular season against Chicago, and 12.3 points and 8.7 assists in the 12 games in the NBA Finals.
.@utahjazz legends and one of the best duos in NBA history!
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 17, 2020
Here is a look at every meeting between Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz from 1996-98.
During the regular season, the Jazz and Bulls met for the first time in Salt Lake City on November 23, 1996. The Jazz picked up a 105-100 win over the Bulls despite a 44-point performance from Michael Jordan. Entering that game, Chicago had a 12-0 record to start the season before the Jazz handed them their first loss. Karl Malone finished with 36 points and 15 rebounds. Jeff Hornacek added 18 points while John Stockton recorded 12 points and 13 assists.
The second meeting in Chicago took place on January 6, 1997, the Bulls got revenge over the Jazz with a 102-89 win. Scottie Pippen led the Bulls with 24 points, Michael Jordan dropped 23 points and 8 rebounds. For the Jazz, Malone had 27 points and 11 boards, Stockton chipped in 18 points and 11 assists.
Malone averaged 31.5 points and 13 rebounds in the two regular season meetings against the Bulls. Stockton posted 15 points and 9.5 assists in those meetings. Meanwhile, Jordan recorded 33.5 points per game.
May 12, 1997: Karl Malone had 32 points and 20 rebounds and the @utahjazz eliminate the LA Lakers with a 98-93 OT win in Game 5. This game is remembered for Kobe Bryant's airballs at the end of regulation and overtime. #KSLSportsArchive #takenote #NBA #KobeBryant pic.twitter.com/XftN3oxGMZ
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) May 12, 2020
Utah finished the regular season with a 64-18 record. They swept the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, eliminated the Lakers in five games in the second round and knocked off the Rockets in six games which included John Stockton’s famous game-winning three-pointer that sent the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Chicago ended the regular season with a 69-13 record. They swept the Washington Bullets in the first round, beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games in the second round and eliminated the Miami Heat in five games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
1997 NBA Finals
In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Bulls hosted the Jazz and was able to barely beat Utah 84-82 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Jordan had 31 points and 8 assists in the win. Malone scored 23 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in the loss. John Stockton added 16 points and 12 assists.
Chicago beat the Jazz in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead back to Salt Lake City with a 97-85 victory. Malone posted 20 points and 13 rebounds. Stockton chipped in 14 points and 7 assists. Jordan exploded for 38 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
The series shifted to Salt Lake City where Malone and Stockton led the Jazz to a 104-93 win. It was their first win in the NBA Finals and trimmed the series deficit to 2-1. Malone had a great performance with 37 points and 10 rebounds along with 17 points and 12 assists from Stockton. Scottie Pippen led the Bulls with 27 points with Jordan adding 26 points in the loss.
In Game 4, it was a defensive battle but the Jazz prevailed with a 78-73 win to tie the series at two games apiece. Jordan dropped 22 points in the loss. Malone notched another double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Stockton scored 17 points and dished out 12 assists.
The Jazz lost a disappointing Game 5 in their final home game of the season as the Bulls beat Utah 90-88 to take a 3-2 series lead back to Chicago. Jordan carried the Bulls with 38 points in the victory.
Chicago picked up a 90-86 win over Utah in Game 6 at the United Center. Jordan ended the series with a 39-point, 11-rebound performance. Malone had 21 points while Stockton chipped in 13 points.
The Bulls beat the Jazz in six games to claim their fifth NBA title and their second straight. Michael Jordan averaged 32.3 points per game in the NBA Finals. Malone averaged 23.8 points and 10.3 rebounds while Stockton posted 15 points and 8.8 assist per game.
In the 1997-98 regular season, the first meeting was in Chicago on January 25, 1998. The Jazz beat the Bulls 101-94 after Karl Malone dropped 35 points and 11 rebounds while Stockton scored 7 points and dished out 10 assists in the win. Michael Jordan had 32 points and 7 assists in the loss.
The two teams met shortly after the first meeting in Salt Lake City on February 4. The Jazz won the game and swept the season series with a 101-93 win over the Bulls despite a 40-point performance from Jordan. The Jazz dynamic duo had tremendous performances led by Malone with 30 points and 8 rebounds along with 17 points and 18 assists from Stockton.
Malone averaged 32.5 points and 9.5 rebounds during the regular season meetings against the Bulls. Stockton chipped in 12 points and 14 assists per game. Jordan averaged 36 points per game.
May 12, 1998: The @utahjazz eliminate the Spurs with an 87-77 Game 5 victory in the 1998 Western Conference Semifinals. Karl Malone had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Jeff Hornacek and Bryon Russell combined to shoot 5 of 9 from 3. #KSLSportsArchive #takenote #NBA pic.twitter.com/BEdmROkE7d
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) May 12, 2020
The Jazz ended the regular season with a 62-20 record. They beat the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round, the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the second round and a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, making their second straight trip to the NBA Finals.
Chicago finished the regular season with the same record as the Jazz, 62-20. They swept the New Jersey Nets in the first round, knocked out the Charlotte Hornets in five games in the second round and eliminated the Indiana Pacers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
1998 NBA Finals
Both Utah and Chicago had identical regular season records but the Jazz held home-court advantage after winning the regular season series. In Game 1 in Salt Lake City, the Jazz got two free throws from John Stockton to put them up by 3 with 3 seconds left. Scottie Pippen missed the game-tying triple. The Jazz won the game 88-85 in overtime and took a 1-0 series lead. Stockton led the Jazz 24 points and 8 assists, Malone had 21 points and 14 rebounds. Jordan scored 33 points but it wasn’t enough for the Bulls.
Rather than taking a 2-0 series lead to Chicago, the Bulls beat the Jazz 93-88 in the Delta Center in Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece. Jordan carried the Bulls to victory with 33 points. Karl Malone struggled after scoring 16 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. He shot just 5-16 from the field. Stockton had 9 points and 7 assists. Jeff Hornacek led the Jazz with 20 points in the loss.
The series moved to Chicago where the Bulls blew out the Jazz 96-54 and took a 2-1 series lead. Jordan led all scorers with 24 points. Malone was the only Jazz player to reach double figures with 22 points.
Chicago took a 3-1 series lead after beating the Jazz 86-82 in Game 4. Jordan ended with 34 points and 8 rebounds. Malone’s 21 points and 14 rebounds wasn’t enough for the Jazz to tie the series.
In Game 5 with the Jazz facing elimination, they picked up a massive road win after beating the Bulls 83-81. The Jazz led by one point with one second left when Jeff Hornacek made a free throw to put them up by two. Jordan missed the potential game-winning three-pointer, he finished with 38 points. Toni Kukoc led the Bulls with 30 points. Malone posted a huge performance with 39 points and 9 rebounds. John Stockton added 6 points and 12 assists.
The Jazz had a chance to win their first NBA title with the final two games of the series being played at the Delta Center. In Game 6, the Jazz had a one point lead with 5 seconds left when Jordan pushed off on Bryon Russell while knocking down a 17-foot jump shot. Stockton missed the game-winning three-pointer and the Bulls prevailed with an 87-86 win, their 6th NBA title and their third straight championship. Jordan ended with 45 points on 35 shot attempts. Malone had 31 points and 11 rebounds. Stockton recorded 10 points and 5 assists.
In that series, Jordan averaged 33.5 points per game. Malone posted
Jordan retired for three seasons after 1998 before joining the Washington Wizards for two seasons. He retired for good after the 2002-03 season.
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