Bulls Tie Series With Road Win
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 6, 1998; Page D01
SALT LAKE CITY, June 5 The Utah Jazz, literally and figuratively, turned over the home-court advantage in the NBA Finals tonight to the Chicago Bulls. Giving away the ball 20 times-miscues that led to 33 Chicago points-the Jazz lost to the Bulls, 93-88, tying the best-of-seven series at one each with the next three games to be played at the Bulls' United Center.
Michael Jordan once again had the game high in points with 37, but it was the Bulls' defense in the fourth quarter that produced the victory. After shooting 50, 58 and 50 percent in each of the first three quarters, the Jazz was held to 27 percent shooting and 15 points in the final period. For the second consecutive game, Jazz forward Karl Malone struggled offensively, making 5 of 16 shots for 16 points and 12 rebounds. Point guard John Stockton also had an off night, collecting only nine points and seven assists while making several crucial mistakes down the stretch.
Everything Stockton did right in overtime in Game 1 to pull out the victory for the Jazz, he did wrong in the closing minutes tonight. With the Jazz leading 86-85, Stockton drove into the lane, jumped and then attempted to loft a pass to the corner for Bryon Russell, but the ball was picked off by Scottie Pippen.
Stockton followed that with an error on the other end, allowing Steve Kerr to slip by him to grab the rebound of his own three-point attempt. Kerr then fed the ball to Jordan for a layup, which turned into a three-point play and an 88-86 lead with 47.9 seconds left when Jordan was fouled and made the bonus free throw.
The Jazz looked to Malone for some fourth-quarter offense, but the Mailman did not deliver, getting one point on three possessions while the Bulls scored nine unanswered points for an 81-74 lead. Jordan capped the run with a three-point play that illustrated his amazing balance. He was shoved by Hornacek as he went up for a fallaway jumper and made the shot despite landing on his backside.
The ball went to Malone on the next possession as well and despite his earlier struggles, the Bulls still double-teamed him. Malone found Russell open and got him the ball for a three-pointer, shrinking the Bulls' lead to four. Utah's Shandon Anderson hit a pair of free throws and Hornacek made a three-pointer for an 86-85 lead with one minute, 46 seconds left.
That, though, proved to be the last basket the Jazz would score until a meaningless layup by Chris Morris in the final seconds.
Pippen had 21 and Toni Kukoc scored all 13 of his in the first half. The Bulls grabbed 18 offensive rebounds-twice their total from Game 1-and scored 33 points off Utah's 20 turnovers.
At the end of the third period, the Jazz made its most impressive run of the game, an 11-0 burst to take a 73-70 lead into the final period. Every Chicago misplay suddenly turned into a huge play for the Jazz, starting with a missed layup by Jordan, which was followed by a three-point bomb from Russell. Kerr had the ball ripped from him by Stockton, which led to a three-pointer from Hornacek. Stockton then grabbed the rebound of a missed jumper by Harper and went to coast-to-coast, driving past two Bulls for the layup.
Rodman threw away a pass intended for Kerr, and then put Hornacek on the free throw line by knocking him down in the middle of the lane.
Utah forward Adam Keefe, who started 75 games at small forward during the regular season but had not played in the postseason since the first round, gave the Jazz a boost with a couple of rebounds and, inadvertently, a missed breakaway layup. Malone grabbed the rebound and fed Hornacek for the second three-pointer of the run.
With the Game 1 jitters out of the way, both teams settled into a brand of basketball that could serve as textbook material on how to execute offensively-and, despite all their differences, both teams wound up using many of the same tactics with almost equal success. The Bulls led at halftime, 50-46, but the two teams shot 52.5 (Bulls) and 54.3 percent (Jazz) with the lead changing 11 times. The Bulls' 46-39 second-quarter lead was the biggest of the half.
The Bulls presented the first defensive wrinkle, adding Pippen to the mix of players guarding Malone in the post.
The decision was motivated by the difficulties Utah had in Game 1 when a Bulls defender played in front of Malone and forced the Jazz guards to use lob passes to get him the ball.
Pippen, with his lanky body, long arms and great leaping ability, presented quite an obstacle to lob over, and the Jazz committed turnovers two of the first three times they tried to go to Malone with Pippen guarding him.
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