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1997 NBA Finals

1997 NBA Finals
TeamCoachWins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Utah Jazz Jerry Sloan 2
Dates June 1–13
MVP Michael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Television NBC (U.S.)
Announcers Marv Albert, Matt Guokas and Bill Walton
Radio network ESPN
Announcers Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay
Referees
Game 1: Dan Crawford, Bill Oakes, Ed T. Rush
Game 2: Hugh Evans, Steve Javie, Bennett Salvatore
Game 3: Joe Crawford, Hue Hollins, Jack Nies
Game 4: Dick Bavetta, Joe Forte, Ed T. Rush
Game 5: Dan Crawford, Hugh Evans, Bill Oakes
Game 6: Joe Crawford, Steve Javie, Bennett Salvatore
Hall of Famers Bulls:
Robert Parish (2003)
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Dennis Rodman (2011)
Jazz:
John Stockton (2009)
Karl Malone (2010)
Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Jerry Sloan (2009)
Tex Winter (2011)
Officals:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Eastern Finals Bulls defeat Heat, 4-1
Western Finals Jazz defeat Rockets, 4-2
NBA Finals

The 1997 NBA Finals was the concluding series of the 1997 NBA Playoffs that determined the champion of the 1996–97 NBA season. The Utah Jazz of the Western Conference took on the Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, in the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format, with the first 2 games in Chicago, then 3 games in a row in Salt Lake City and the last 2 in Chicago.

The Bulls won the series 4 games to 2. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Michael Jordan was named Finals MVP.

Hal Douglas narrated the season-ending documentary for NBA Entertainment.

Background

The Utah Jazz made the NBA Finals for the first time, mainly due to the exploits of its All-Star duo in John Stockton and league MVP Karl Malone. Stockton joined the Jazz as the 16th pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, while Malone arrived as the 13th pick of the 1985 NBA Draft. They initially played backup to Adrian Dantley and Rickey Green before coming into their own by 1987. The Jazz would break through in the 1988 NBA Playoffs, losing a hard-fought seven-game series to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the conference semifinals. Early in the 1988–89 season, Frank Layden stepped aside from the coaching ranks and assistant Jerry Sloan took over.

By 1992, the Jazz were an NBA power, reaching their first Western Conference Final that year, and then advanced to that level two more times in the next four seasons. The 1996 NBA Playoffs would see Utah lose a hard-fought seven-game conference final series to the Seattle SuperSonics, which many saw as the beginning of their ascension to the NBA's elite. They would put it all together the next season, winning 64 games to earn the top seed in the Western Conference. They would sweep the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round, then eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in five games of the second round, and then with John Stockton hitting the buzzer-beating trey in Game 6, eliminated the Houston Rockets to advance to their first NBA Final in franchise history.

For the Chicago Bulls, the campaign was almost identical to their record-breaking 1995–96 season, although they would finish a game shy of another 70-win season. They swept the Washington Bullets in the first round, then dispatched the Atlanta Hawks in a five-game second round series, and then defeated the Miami Heat in five games of the conference finals.

Road to the Finals

Main article: 1997 NBA Playoffs
Utah Jazz (Western Conference Champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Utah Jazz 64 18 .780
2 y-Seattle SuperSonics 57 25 .695 7
3 x-Houston Rockets 57 25 .695 7
4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 8
5 x-Portland Trail Blazers 49 33 .598 15
6 x-Minnesota Timberwolves 40 42 .488 24
7 x-Phoenix Suns 40 42 .488 24
8 x-Los Angeles Clippers 36 46 .439 28
9 Sacramento Kings 34 48 .415 30
10 Golden State Warriors 30 52 .366 34
11 Dallas Mavericks 24 58 .293 40
12 Denver Nuggets 21 61 .256 43
13 San Antonio Spurs 20 62 .244 44
14 Vancouver Grizzlies 14 68 .171 50
1st seed in the West, 2nd best league record
Regular season
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Chicago Bulls 69 13 .841
2 y-Miami Heat 61 21 .744 8
3 x-New York Knicks 57 25 .695 12
4 x-Atlanta Hawks 56 26 .683 13
5 x-Detroit Pistons 54 28 .659 15
6 x-Charlotte Hornets 54 28 .659 15
7 x-Orlando Magic 45 37 .549 24
8 x-Washington Bullets 44 38 .537 25
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 42 40 .512 27
10 Indiana Pacers 39 43 .476 30
11 Milwaukee Bucks 33 49 .402 36
12 Toronto Raptors 30 52 .366 39
13 New Jersey Nets 26 56 .317 43
14 Philadelphia 76ers 22 60 .268 47
15 Boston Celtics 15 67 .183 54
1st seed in the East, best league record
Defeated the (8) Los Angeles Clippers, 3–0 First Round Defeated the (8) Washington Bullets, 3–0
Defeated the (4) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) Atlanta Hawks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Houston Rockets, 4–2 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) Miami Heat, 4–1

Regular season series

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:

November 23, 1996
Chicago Bulls 100, Utah Jazz 105


Starting Lineups

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame ‡
Chicago Position Utah
Ron Harper PG John Stockton
Michael Jordan SG Jeff Hornacek
Scottie Pippen SF Byron Russell
Dennis Rodman PF Karl Malone
Luc Longley C Greg Ostertag


1997 NBA Finals roster

1997 Chicago Bulls Playoff roster