Unbelievable: Jazz fans’ hearts are broken by bulls.

Unbelievable: Jazz fans’ hearts are broken by bulls.

Legends profile: Michael Jordan | NBA.com

Once more, Michael Jordan denied the Utah Jazz.

He deceived us all once more on June 14, the day after guiding the Chicago Bulls to victory over the Jazz and the 1997 NBA title, as the team won an exciting 87-86 game at the Delta Center to secure their sixth NBA title in eight seasons.

Jordan, of course, pushed off to make the game-winning basket in the closing seconds and was named the sixth NBA Finals MVP in history on June 14, 1998.

And there was much sorrow and angst in the Deseret News archives. Since then, Utah has not returned to the Finals.

The Jazz maintained their roster following the 1997 campaign, although supporters were concerned after the team’s 11-7 start to the season as a result of a John Stockton injury. After that, Jerry Sloan’s team picked up steam and didn’t let up, winning 62 games and securing home-court advantage in the postseason.

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Jordan excluded. The Jazz only scored 54 points in Game 3 of the series after losing the first three games of the series. A great road game was won by Utah in a retaliatory fashion, and the Delta Center will host Game 6.

For the majority of the game, the Jazz were ahead, but as any Jazz fan knows, in the closing seconds, Jordan snatched the ball from Karl Malone.

MJ outplayed Byron Russell in the closing seconds, making the “Last Shot.”

Even after 25 years, it may still be too soon for Jazz fans to consider, but for a lot of Utahans, the playoff runs were incredibly thrilling moments that will always be remembered.

Here are a few past articles from Deseret News from that season and that particular series:

“Jazz, the Bulls need to do this to win the title.”

“Jazz and the Bulls don’t want to be favored”

“Jonathan’s ‘Last Shot’ haunts Utah Jazz’s 1998 NBA Finals team 20 years later.”

“View Phil Jackson’s Utah Jazz scouting report prior to the 1998 NBA Finals.”

Utah Jazz: Give it up! The Bulls should have won the series.


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