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NBA FINALS

Game Report

June 02, 1997

FIRST QUARTER

UTAH: 18

CHICAGO: 17

The game started and the matchup everyone had been waiting for was here: Greg Ostertag vs. Luc Longley. Longley won the tip. Scottie Pippen was in the lineup for the Bulls, but grimaced in pain every time he put weight on his left foot. Both teams were cold to start, the Bulls missing seven of 10 shots, the Jazz four of six. Utah went five minutes without making a shot before Malone ended the streak at the 3:23 mark. Malone missed seven of his first eight attempts. The quarter was dominated by sloppy play on both sides. Turnovers and defensive lapses were on display, but neither team could make a basket to capitalize. Howard Eisley provided a spark for the Jazz, making two late shots to give them a one-point lead as the quarter mercifully ended. MVP watch: Malone three of 11, six points; Jordan three of eight, six points.

* Bull leading scorers: Jordan 6

* Jazz leading scorers: Malone 6

SECOND QUARTER

UTAH: 42

CHICAGO: 38

Chicago started with a 5-0 run as Bryon Russell missed four quick shots for the Jazz. The Bulls took a 24-18 lead, but things slowly began to unravel. Triangle offense wizard Tex Winter was called for a technical foul. Dennis Rodman, who was switched to defend Malone after Longley had done a good job containing him in the first quarter, couldn't get the job done defensively. Malone was too quick and burned Rodman on two consecutive fallaway jumpers. After the second one, Rodman came down the court and threw up a three-point shot that barely hit the rim. Utah grabbed the rebound and scored. Then, Rodman was fouled in the lane and threw up an airball on his first free-throw attempt. Utah opened up a seven-point lead, but the Bulls came on late in the quarter to cut it to four. Key statistic: Malone made four of seven shots when Rodman was guarding him in the half, but only one of six with Longley on him. MVP watch: Malone two of three, four points; Jordan three of five, six points.

* Bull leading scorers: Jordan 6

* Jazz leading scorers: Stockton 7

THIRD QUARTER

UTAH: 64

CHICAGO: 62

Pippen adjusted his shoe at halftime and came out determined to spark the Bulls. In the first six minutes, he had a block, a steal and scored seven of the Bulls' first nine points. More importantly, he showed little sign of an injured foot. Then, for some mysterious reason, Chicago set a double-screen to free up Rodman, who threw up another airball, and the Bulls' momentum stopped. Utah committed six turnovers in the first six minutes, three by Malone. Jeff Hornacek started hitting jumpers for Utah and the Bulls never seemed to be able to catch up. Finally, Pippen made a three-point basket to put the Bulls up by one, but Hornacek answered with a three-point basket of his own. The Jazz had eight turnovers in the quarter, including a key one by Eisley as time ran down, allowing Pippen an easy basket to cut Utah's lead to two as the third quarter ended. Pippen and Jordan combined for 22 of the Bulls' 24 points in the quarter. MVP watch: Malone two of three, four points; Jordan three of eight, 10 points.

* Bull leading scorers: Pippen 12

* Jazz leading scorers: Hornacek 9

FINAL

UTAH: 82

CHICAGO: 84

The teams traded baskets for a few minutes. Pippen, known for disappearing during big games, continued to make his presence felt with key baskets that kept the Bulls close. Ron Harper made his first field goal of the game, a three-pointer, with 7:20 to play. Malone made his first trip to the free-throw line with 7:02 remaining. He made one of two. Utah's turnovers began to catch up with them. Stockton had one of his season-high seven with 3:20 to play and Chicago capitalized on a Longley jumper for a 76-75 lead. Malone made a jumper. Jordan answered. Stockton made a three-pointer for a one-point lead. Jordan missed one of two free throws. Tie score. Malone went to the line and missed twice. Jordan added to his legend with the winning jumper as time expired. Round One to Jordan and the Bulls. MVP watch: Malone three of five, nine points; Jordan four of six, nine points.

* Bull leading scorers: Jordan 9

* Jazz leading scorers: Malone 9

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