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NBA PLAYOFFS

Game Report

June 14, 1997|ARA NAJARIAN

FIRST QUARTER

UTAH: 23

CHICAGO: 17

* IN REVIEW: The Bulls looked confident, even energized, to start the game. Michael Jordan did not show any visible signs of the flu he caught in Utah. But then the Bulls started out shooting only one for nine. Hey, maybe somebody should give Jordan the bug again. Things didn't start out much better for the Jazz. It looked to be a bad sign when John Stockton turned the ball over on two of the first three possessions for the Jazz. Jeff Hornacek's first shot, a three-pointer, was an air ball--he looked for a foul call and didn't get it--and things looked grim. But Hornacek got off to his best game of the series. His jump-shot after a turnover caused by Karl Malone and a three from the set offense keyed a 10-4 run by the Jazz. The Bulls were able to survive on Scottie Pippen's guile and Brian Williams' bile. Pippen got behind the Jazz defense for a couple of easy layups and four rebounds and Williams got under the Jazz players' skin for a seemingly unwarranted elbow to the chest of Howard Eisley. Williams was called for a technical foul, but it only seemed to fire him up. And what of Mr. MVP, Karl Malone? He was never able to get an offensive rhythm, but his rough style of defense was important in a game where the referees were not calling very many early fouls. The Bulls did not score a field goal for nearly four minutes to close the quarter.

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Pippen 8

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Hornacek 8,

SECOND QUARTER

UTAH: 44

CHICAGO: 37

* IN REVIEW: The Bulls continued their cold shooting. Rookie Shandon Anderson sparked the Jazz off the bench by scoring the first five points. Bryon Russell's two three-pointers helped Utah stretched out to two leads of 10 points. Again Jordan stepped up his game, but he had little help. Toni Kukoc had two steals and a three-pointer, Williams dunked and Steve Kerr made two free throws--but anything else positive for the Bulls was accomplished by Jordan. Luc Longley and Williams each had two turnovers in the paint and Pippen picked up his third foul and headed to the bench for the final two minutes of the half. But Jordan would not let the Jazz get too far away, driving to the key and hitting a 10-foot jumper with 0.6 left.

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Jordan 12

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Russell 64

THIRD QUARTER

UTAH: 70

CHICAGO: 64

* IN REVIEW: Jordan and Pippen asserted themselves, but the Jazz would not give ground. Jordan was spectacular. His stutter-step, driving one-handed layup over Hornacek seemed to give the Jazz pause. A few minutes later, he drove baseline to the basket, hung in the air and leaned back to let a double-team attempt float by then put the ball in. Jordan also had a steal and a dunk. Pippen was not as spectacular, but he had two steals and nine points before picking up his fourth foul. Malone was not able to get into a rhythm, but the Jazz perimeter game was effective. Stockton scored seven points, Hornacek five and Russell's third three-pointer prevented the Bulls from taking the lead. Judd Buechler's hurried three-pointer ended the quarter on a high-note for the Bulls.

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Jordan 17

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Stockton 7

FOURTH QUARTER

UTAH: 86

CHICAGO: 90

* IN REVIEW: Jordan started the quarter on the bench and Stockton converted three free throws to stretch the Jazz lead to nine. Then the Bull run started. It's the NBA, there had to be a run. Kerr and Pippen each scored five points in a 10-0 spurt to give the Bulls their first lead with 7:26 left. Jordan returned and, from that point, it was him against the Jazz, and he gave the Bulls an 86-83 lead with two minutes left. The Jazz tied the score when Russell hit a three-pointer on the wing, and they might have taken the lead had Anderson not missed a layup with 15 seconds left. The Bulls called timeout and let Jordan work for the last shot. However, he was double-teamed and passed to Kerr at the free-throw line for the go-ahead basket. After a Utah timeout, Kukoc and Pippen combined to break up the inbound pass and Kukoc's dunk put an exclamation on the Bulls' fifth NBA championship.

* LEADING BULL SCORER: Jordan 10

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Malone 5

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