With the Jazz-Rockets game just hours away, I thought it would be fun to look back at one of the more memorable moments in Utah’s franchise history. It was 1997 and the Jazz had spent [oh so many] years working towards contention. Nearly all the stars were aligned during 1997 season, as the Jazz ultimately found themselves on the league’s biggest stage, the NBA Finals.
It was John Stockton’s heroics that sent Utah to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The best part of the clip, other than everything Stockton does including the celebration, is Karl Malone’s screen at about the seven second mark of the video. It’s a simple play that frees up Stockton, giving him the necessary space to step in and take the 3. Still though, it’s a long three and I’m sure Jazz fans love taking a trip through memory lane with this clip.
Stockton scored 11 of the team’s final 14 points in the final minutes of the game.
Houston’s Eddie Johnson won the game with a 3-pointer in game 4 and Stockton returned the favor in game 6. Stockton finished with 25 points and 13 assists. Malone added 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
The 3-pointer won the game 103-100 and the Jazz defeated the Rockets 4-2. Utah lost to the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in the finals.
Utah and Houston were notable midwest foes in the 1990s, led by the likes of Olajuwon, Malone, and Stockton. Hopefully both teams can continue to improve and face each other in the playoffs in two to three years.