Utah Jazz: The Long and Winding Road Ends for Jerry Sloan

February 12th, 2011 by Adrian Barcia Leave a reply »
It was June 1997. Utah was out to challenge Chicago for NBA supremacy. The Jazz team were newbies up against the veteran championship fixture. Michael was the predator, and in these games he relishes the moment to proclaim his greatness anew.

It's no wonder that with the game on the line Utah's best player choked; with Scottie Pippen psyching Malone out, telling him "Just remember, the mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays, Karl," while Malone was at the free-throw line. He missed both free throws and the Bulls rebounded and quickly called a timeout.

With the game on the line, Chicago put the ball into the hands of Michael Jordan. M.J. dribbled out most of the waning seconds and then launched a 20-footer that swished in at the buzzer, as the Chicago Bulls took the first game of the 1997 NBA Finals. And it happened three more times during the course of the six-game series; one of them was the infamous "flu" game in Game 5. Utah lost.


And it was that first Finals game that served as an omen that would prevail until the next year when Utah would again meet Chicago in the Finals. Utah this time had the home-court advantage. They won ...

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