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NBA PLAYOFFS

Game Report

June 07, 1997|ARA NAJARIAN

FIRST QUARTER: CHICAGO 22, UTAH 31

* IN REVIEW: The Jazz had fireworks, popped balloons and did everything it could to pump up its fans for the opening tip-off. The Bulls didn't have to worry about the altitude as much as the smoke inhalation. What did all the fuss give Utah? A game-opening three-pointer by Michael Jordan. It didn't take long for Utah to recover, though. Karl Malone was able to get his game going against Luc Longley and Brian Williams. Neither seemed willing to do anything but stand in front of him with their hands in the air as he went by them. Meanwhile, Jordan cooled off, getting six points on two-for-six shooting in the quarter. Worse for the Chicago offense, Jordan didn't drove the lane or post-up while Bryon Russell was guarding him. Nobody picked up the slack for Chicago--Tony Kukoc spent most of the quarter on the bench and Scottie Pippen finished the quarter with six points. Williams seemed the most interested in taking the ball to the hoop for the Bulls. Of course, he was only going against Greg Ostertag and Greg Foster

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Williams 8

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Malone 15

SECOND QUARTER: * IN REVIEW: The Jazz was positively swinging, fast-breaking right from the start. Foster and Chris Morris provided enthusiasm and slashed to the hoop. Foster grabbed a rebound one-handed and, in the same motion, dunked it to put Utah up by 13 with seven minutes left in the half and stave off a brief Chicago run. Morris knocked down a fast-break three-point shot a minute later, pushing the lead to 18. Jordan started to post-up with some success, but that wasn't enough. Utah's dominance in the quarter was such that Chicago never had anything that resembled a run. There were moments, such as a give-and-go-and-back exchange between Kukoc and Pippen, but nothing was sustained. Utah's bench was just as effective as its starters and the starters were on a roll..

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Jordan 8

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Foster 11

THIRD QUARTER: CHICAGO 60, UTAH 77

* IN REVIEW: The best explanation for the third-quarter outcome? Jordan took one shot and missed it. Pippen had one point. For the Jazz, it was Russell's turn to step up. Actually, it was more like stepping into the lane in time for nice passes from one of Utah's guards for easy baskets. Stockton had nine assists by the end of the quarter. With nearly six minutes left, Foster turned on Kukoc for a lean-in shot and the ball stuck between the rim and the backboard. It was possibly the best defense by the Bulls all night. The Bulls were able to make some stops near the end of the quarter and went on a 7-0 run.

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Steve Kerr 6

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Russell 8

FOURTH QUARTER: CHICAGO 93, UTAH 104

* IN REVIEW: Chicago continued its run, behind jumpers by Jordan and Kerr, to pull within 13 withnine minutes to play. Bull Coach Phil Jackson benched Dennis Rodman and went with a lineup designed to force Utah to put Stockton on Jordan more often. It worked somewhat, but who is to say Jordan would not have scored 10 fourth-quarter points regardless of who was guarding him? The Bulls went on a 27-13 run to close within seven points with 2:50 left. Pippen made three of his finals' record-tying seven three-point baskets in the run. Stockton and Malone--who else?--staved off the Bulls' big push. Stockton drove to the hoop virtually uncontested three times and Malone did the things that earned him the MVP award-- making difficult shots, getting tough rebounds and sinking pressure free throws. In a switch from Game 1, he made his free throws with under two minutes left (even with Pippen whispering in his ear) while Jordan missed the front end of a one-and-one. Malone finished with 37 points and 10 rebounds.

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Pippen 14

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Stockton 10

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