1996–97 Chicago Bulls season

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1996–97 Chicago Bulls season
Fifth NBA Championship
Head coach Phil Jackson
Owner(s) Jerry Reinsdorf
Arena United Center
Results
Record 69–13 (.841)
Place Division: 1st (Central)
Conference: 1st (Eastern)
Playoff finish NBA Champions

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television SportsChannel Chicago, WGN
Radio WMVP
< 1995–96 1997–98 >

The 1996-97 Chicago Bulls, on the backs of recording another first place finish in their division and conference, repeated as NBA champions. The Bulls would go on to beat the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals, their fifth title in seven years. The team was led by Michael Jordan, rebound ace Dennis Rodman and perennial all star small forward Scottie Pippen. Other notable players on the club's roster that year were clutch-specialist Croatian Toni Kukoc, and sharp-shooting point guard Steve Kerr. The Bulls finished with a 69-13 record, just missing out on becoming the first team in NBA history to have back-to-back 70 wins seasons.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality School/Club Team
1 29 Travis Knight C  United States UConn

Roster[edit]

1996-97 Chicago Bulls roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
PG 1 United States Brown, Randy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) New Mexico State
SF 30 United States Buechler, Jud 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Arizona
PF 35 United States Caffey, Jason 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Alabama
SG 9 United States Harper, Ron 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Miami (OH)
SG 23 United States Jordan, Michael 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) North Carolina
PG 25 United States Kerr, Steve 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Arizona
SF 7 Croatia Kukoc, Toni 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 192 lb (87 kg) Croatia
C 13 Australia Longley, Luc 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 265 lb (120 kg) New Mexico
C 00 United States Parish, Robert 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Centenary
SF 33 United States Pippen, Scottie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Central Arkansas
PF 91 United States Rodman, Dennis 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 210 lb (95 kg) SE Oklahoma State
PF 8 United States Simpkins, Dickey 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 248 lb (112 kg) Providence
SF 6 United States Steigenga, Matt 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) Michigan State
C 34 Canada Wennington, Bill 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 245 lb (111 kg) St. John's
C 18 United States Williams, Brian 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Arizona
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)



Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Template:1986-87 NBA Central standings

Playoffs[edit]

East First Round[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Washington Bullets Last Playoff Meeting: Not available (first playoff series)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(CHI-WAS)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 25 Chicago 98 Washington 86 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 TNT
2 April 27 Chicago 109 Washington 104 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 NBC
3 April 30 Washington 95 Chicago 96 3-0 US Airways Arena, Landover, Maryland 3 TNT
Chicago wins series 3–0

East Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks Last Playoff Meeting: 1993 Eastern Conference First Round (Chicago won 3-0)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(CHI-ATL)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 6 Chicago 100 Atlanta 97 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 TNT
2 May 8 Chicago 95 Atlanta 103 1-1 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 TNT
3 May 10 Atlanta 80 Chicago 100 2-1 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 3 NBC
4 May 11 Atlanta 80 Chicago 89 3-1 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 4 NBC
5 May 13 Chicago 107 Atlanta 92 4-1 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 5 TNT
Chicago wins series 4–1

East Conference Finals[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (2) Miami Heat Last Playoff Meeting: 1996 Eastern Conference First Round (Chicago won 3-0)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(CHI-MIA)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 20 Chicago 84 Miami 77 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 TNT
2 May 22 Chicago 75 Miami 68 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 TNT
3 May 24 Miami 74 Chicago 98 3-0 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 3 NBC
4 May 26 Miami 87 Chicago 80 3-1 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 4 NBC
5 May 28 Chicago 100 Miami 87 4-1 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 5 NBC
Chicago wins series 4–1

Player stats[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game

Regular season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Randy Brown 72 3 14.7 .420 .182 .679 1.5 1.8 1.12 .24 4.7
Jud Buechler 76 0 9.2 .367 .333 .357 1.7 .8 .30 .28 1.8
Jason Caffey 75 19 18.7 .532 .000 .659 4.0 1.2 .33 .12 7.3
Bison Dele 9 0 15.3 .413 .000 .733 3.7 1.3 .33 .56 7.0
Ron Harper 76 74 22.9 .436 .362 .707 2.5 2.5 1.13 .50 6.3
Michael Jordan 82 82 37.9 .486 .374 .833 5.9 4.3 1.71 .54 29.6
Steve Kerr 82 0 22.7 .533 .464 .806 1.6 2.1 .82 .04 8.1
Toni Kukoč 57 15 28.2 .471 .331 .770 4.6 4.5 1.05 .51 13.2
Luc Longley 59 59 24.9 .456 .000 .792 5.6 2.4 .39 1.12 9.1
Robert Parish 43 3 9.4 .490 .000 .677 2.1 .5 .14 .44 3.7
Scottie Pippen 82 82 37.7 .474 .368 .701 6.5 5.7 1.88 .55 20.2
Dennis Rodman 55 54 35.4 .448 .263 .568 16.1 3.1 .58 .35 5.7
Dickey Simpkins 48 0 8.2 .333 .250 .700 1.9 .6 .10 .10 1.9
Matt Steigenga 2 0 6.0 .250 .000 .500 1.5 1.0 .50 .50 1.5
Bill Wennington 61 19 12.8 .498 .000 .830 2.1 .7 .16 .18 4.6

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Randy Brown 17 5.8 .300 .000 .600 .6 .4 .47 .12 1.2
Jud Buechler 18 7.7 .419 .333 .600 1.3 .3 .17 .06 1.8
Jason Caffey 17 9.8 .455 .000 .786 2.5 .9 .18 .18 2.4
Bison Dele 19 17.7 .481 .000 .516 3.7 .6 1.00 .42 6.1
Ron Harper 19 27.1 .400 .344 .750 4.3 3.0 1.26 .74 7.5
Michael Jordan 19 42.3 .456 .194 .831 7.9 4.8 1.58 .89 31.1
Steve Kerr 19 17.9 .429 .381 .929 .9 1.1 .89 .11 5.0
Toni Kukoč 19 22.3 .360 .358 .707 2.8 2.8 .68 .21 7.9
Luc Longley 19 22.7 .548 .000 .385 4.4 1.8 .37 .84 6.5
Robert Parish 2 9.0 .143 .000 .000 2.0 .0 .00 1.50 1.0
Scottie Pippen 19 39.6 .417 .345 .791 6.8 3.8 1.47 .95 19.2
Dennis Rodman 19 28.2 .370 .250 .577 8.4 1.4 .53 .21 4.2

NBA finals[edit]

Schedule[edit]

  • Game 1 - June 1, Sunday @Chicago, Chicago 84, Utah 82: Chicago leads series 1-0
  • Game 2 - June 4, Wednesday @Chicago, Chicago 97, Utah 85: Chicago leads series 2-0
  • Game 3 - June 6, Friday @Utah, Utah 104, Chicago 93: Chicago leads series 2-1
  • Game 4 - June 8, Sunday @Utah, Utah 78, Chicago 73: Series tied 2-2
  • Game 5 - June 11, Wednesday @Utah, Chicago 90, Utah 88: Chicago leads series 3-2
  • Game 6 - June 13, Friday @Chicago, Chicago 90, Utah 86: Chicago wins series 4-2

The Finals were played using a 2-3-2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage's (Chicago's) home court (United Center).

Game 1[edit]

Sunday, June 1, at the United Center

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Utah 18 24 22 18 82
Chicago 17 21 24 22 84

Game 2[edit]

Wednesday, June 4, at the United Center

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Utah 20 11 28 26 85
Chicago 25 22 31 19 97

Game 3[edit]

Friday, June 6, at the Delta Center

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Chicago 22 23 15 33 93
Utah 31 30 15 27 104

Game 4[edit]

Sunday, June 8, at the Delta Center

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Chicago 16 24 16 17 73
Utah 21 14 21 22 78

Game 5: The Flu Game[edit]

Wednesday, June 11, at the Delta Center

Game 5, often referred to as "The Flu Game", was one of Michael Jordan's most memorable. Just 24 hours earlier, on June 10, 1997, Michael Jordan woke up nauseated and sweating profusely. He hardly had the strength to sit up in bed and was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning. The Bulls trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play in the game. The Jazz had just won two in a row to tie the series, and Chicago needed their leader in this critical swing game. Against all odds, Jordan rose from bed at 3:00 p.m., just in time for the 6:00 tip-off at the Delta Center.

Jordan was visibly weak and pale as he stepped onto the court for Game Five. At first, he displayed no energy whatsoever, and John Stockton, along with reigning MVP Karl Malone, quickly led the Jazz to a 16-point lead. But in the second quarter, Jordan started to sink shots despite lacking his usual explosive speed and hardly being able to concentrate. He scored 17 points in the quarter as the Bulls hit the front before halftime.

Luc Longley and Scottie Pippen did their best to keep the Bulls in the game while Jordan was fatigued again in the third. But Jordan turned it on again, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a clutch rebound and three-point shot with the game tied and under a minute left that put the Bulls up by three points. Chicago held on for a narrow victory.

Jordan finished the game with 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block. Malone was the highest-scoring Jazz player with 19 points but suffered from some dreadful shooting. Jordan stayed on the court for 44 minutes, resting for only four minutes while being perpetually at the brink of fainting. With only a few seconds remaining and the game finally at hand, Jordan collapsed into Scottie Pippen's arms.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Chicago 16 33 18 23 90
Utah 29 24 19 16 88

Game 6[edit]

Friday, June 13, at the United Center

Michael Jordan was not fully recovered from the flu, but was feeling much better and led the Bulls with 39 points. In the third quarter Michael Jordan dunked after a steal, bringing the crowd to its feet. The Bulls trailed by 9 points early in the fourth quarter but went on a 10-0 run to take their first lead since the opening minutes when Steve Kerr hit a 3-pointer, but the Jazz would regain the lead. In the final minutes, Jordan's fadeaway on the baseline put the Bulls up by 3, before Bryon Russell hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 86-86. The two teams would fail to score on their next possessions. With 28 seconds left after Shandon Anderson missed a reverse layup, the Jazz expected Jordan to take the final shot. Instead, Jordan passed off to Steve Kerr, who hit a shot with 5 seconds left to send the United Center crowd into a frenzy. The Jazz looked for one final shot to stay alive, but Scottie Pippen made a massive defensive play as he knocked away Bryon Russell's inbound pass intended for Shandon Anderson and was able to pass the ball over to Toni Kukoc, who dunked the final 2 points of the game to bring the Finals to an end. Afterwards, Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Utah 23 21 26 16 86
Chicago 17 20 27 26 90

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]