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REMEMBERING THE HISTORIC blowout in the 1998 NBA Finals

1998 NBA Finals (1) (1)

Looking to bounce back from a loss that cost the team home-court advantage, the Jazz responded with the lowest-scoring game in the history of the NBA’s post-shot clock era. Karl Malone found his shooting stroke while the rest of the Utah Jazz players lost theirs in an exchange that resulted in the lowest point total in modern NBA history. The largest margin of victory in an NBA Finals game.

“It’s an awesome score to look at. It’s overwhelming in that respect,” 

Phil Jackson

It was a wretched, sickly effort that shattered plenty of records. No one had ever lost by this many points (42) in the Finals. No one had ever made so few field goals (21), and no one had ever scored so few points in a second-half (23)

The Jazz scored only 14 points in the first and third quarters, 17 in the second and nine in the fourth. It was so bad that the Bulls were doubled over laughing as the fourth quarter wound down.

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“Everybody had a good time out there. We came out and played hard. We put the effort and intensity in, and as a result, we could relax a little in the fourth quarter.”

Michael Jordan

With forward Scottie Pippen playing the passing lanes like a free safety and the Bulls collectively using their superior speed and lankiness to harass the Jazz into shooting a collective 30 percent and committing 26 turnovers. The Bulls took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a resounding 96-54 victory tonight at United Center.

Is this actually the score? I thought they scored 196. It seemed like they scored 196.I’m somewhat embarrassed for NBA basketball for the guys to come out and play at this level, with no more fight left in them than what we had. It’s an embarrassment for all of us.”

Jerry Sloan

With 22 points, Malone was the only Utah player to score in double figures. While Malone was hitting all six of his shots in the first quarter, Russell, Ostertag, and Hornacek shot a combined 0-for-16 from the field.

The Bulls didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, either — 33 percent in the first quarter — but they used the same formula of strong offensive rebounding and aggressive foul-drawing drives to the basket to compensate. They built an 18-point lead without making a single three-pointer, thanks to a 13-5 scoring edge in free throws and 25-18 advantage in rebounds.

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