1997 NBA Playoffs

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The 1997 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1996-97 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls defeating the Western Conference champion Utah Jazz 4 games to 2. This was the Bulls' second straight title, and fifth overall (They completed the 3-peat by beating Utah again in 1998). Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP for the fifth time.

This was the first Western Conference title for the Jazz in their 22-year history.

The Heat's run to the Eastern Conference Finals marked the farthest they had reached in the playoffs up to that point; they did not return until 2005, but won the NBA Finals in 2006.

The Minnesota Timberwolves made their playoff debut after failing to win more than 30 games in their first 7 seasons. It was also the first of 7 straight years in which they made the playoffs only to lose in the first round.

This was the first (and so far, only) time since the ABA–NBA merger that the 4 former ABA teams (Spurs, Nuggets, Pacers, and Nets) missed the playoffs, even more remarkable considering the rarity with which San Antonio has missed the playoffs at all (only 4 times since the merger).

All four 1988/89 expansion teams (Minnesota, Miami, Orlando and Charlotte) made the playoffs for the first time. This would happen again in 2001.

The two #8 seeds in this tournament (the Bullets and Clippers) broke long playoff droughts (Bullets eight years, Clippers only just three) with their appearances in the 1997 Playoffs. (The Bullets' last playoff appearance was in 1988; the Clippers in 1993). Unfortunately for both teams, it would be a long time before they made the playoffs again; the renamed Wizards made their return in 2005; the Clippers in 2006. The Bullets qualified by defeating the Cavs in a regular season finale that saw both teams fighting for the #8 seed.[1]

Game 4 of the Bulls–Hawks series was the last game ever played at The Omni. The Hawks' home playoff games for 1998 and 1999 were played at the Georgia Dome while the Omni was demolished to make way for Philips Arena, which would open in late 1999.

The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena hosted its final NBA playoff game in Game 3 of the Clippers–Jazz series. When the Clippers returned to the playoffs in 2006, they had moved to the Staples Center, their home since the 1999–2000 season. As of 2014, the Sports Arena remains active, presenting high school basketball championships, concerts, and conventions.

Game 3 of the Bulls–Bullets series was the last playoff game ever played at the Capital Centre (named USAir Arena at the time). They moved into a new arena the next season. In addition, the Bullets changed their team name to the Wizards on May 15th, making it the last time the team was officially named the "Bullets".

Bracket[edit]

First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                       
1 Utah 3
8 L.A. Clippers 0
1 Utah 4
4 L.A. Lakers 1
4 L.A. Lakers 3
5 Portland 1
1 Utah 4
Western Conference
3 Houston 2
3 Houston 3
6 Minnesota 0
3 Houston 4
2 Seattle 3
2 Seattle 3
7 Phoenix 2
W1 Utah 2
E1 Chicago 4
1 Chicago 3
8 Washington 0
1 Chicago 4
4 Atlanta 1
4 Atlanta 3
5 Detroit 2
1 Chicago 4
Eastern Conference
2 Miami 1
3 New York 3
6 Charlotte 0
3 New York 3
2 Miami 4
2 Miami 3
7 Orlando 2

Playoff qualifying[edit]

Western Conference[edit]

Best record in conference[edit]

The Utah Jazz clinched the best record in the Western Conference, and had home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.

Clinched a playoff berth[edit]

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

  1. Utah Jazz (clinched Midwest division)
  2. Seattle SuperSonics (clinched Pacific division)
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Portland Trail Blazers
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves
  7. Phoenix Suns
  8. Los Angeles Clippers

Eastern Conference[edit]

Best record in NBA[edit]

The Chicago Bulls clinched the best record in the NBA, and earned home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs.

Clinched a playoff berth[edit]

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

  1. Chicago Bulls (clinched Central division)
  2. Miami Heat (clinched Atlantic division)
  3. New York Knicks
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Detroit Pistons
  6. Charlotte Hornets
  7. Orlando Magic
  8. Washington Bullets

Memorable moments[edit]

The 1997 NBA Playoffs featured several important clutch shots and other moments.

Scottie Pippen made the series-winning dunk with 7.4 seconds left as the Bulls swept the Bullets 96–95 and advanced.[2]

With his team trailing 107–104 with 4.3 seconds left, Phoenix guard Rex Chapman took the inbounds pass, launched a 3-point shot while falling out of bounds, and made the shot to tie the game. The Sonics would however win in OT 122-115.

Scottie Pippen broke a 97-97 tie by making a 3-point shot with 43.9 seconds left. Neither team would score after that, and the Bulls beat Atlanta 100–97.

A courtside brawl erupted when Heat forward P.J. Brown body-slammed Knicks guard Charlie Ward causing both teams' benches to clear. For the Knicks, Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Allan Houston and Larry Johnson left the bench. All of the players involved were suspended. The Knicks, under-manned by the suspensions, lost the series in 7 games to start the Heat-Knicks rivalry.

Eddie Johnson made a 3 as time expired to tie the Western Conference Finals at 2.

  • May 29: Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets, Game 6

John Stockton capped off a spectacular 4th quarter performance by hitting a 3 as time expired to send Utah to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

  • June 1: Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz, Game 1

With the game tied at 82 with 9.2 seconds left, Jazz forward Karl Malone missed two crucial free throws. Chicago regained possession and Michael Jordan hit a jumper as time expired for the Bulls to win 84–82.

  • June 13: Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz, Game 6

With most NBC viewers (and Utah defenders) thinking Jordan would take the last shot with the game tied at 86, he instead passed to Steve Kerr, who made a 17-foot shot with 5 seconds left. On the next play, Scottie Pippen stole Bryon Russell's inbound pass and rolled the ball to Toni Kukoč, who clinched the title with a dunk.

Notes[edit]

  • For the first time since 1992, a #5 seed did not beat their #4 seeded opponent in the first round.

Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Utah Jazz

First Round[edit]

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (8) Los Angeles Clippers[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1992 Western Conference First Round (Utah won 3–2)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(UTAH-LAC)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 24 Utah 106 L.A. Clippers 86 1-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1
2 April 26 Utah 105 L.A. Clippers 99 2-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 2 TNT
3 April 28 L.A. Clippers 92 Utah 104 3-0 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California 3 TNT
Utah wins series 3–0

(4) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1992 Western Conference First Round (Portland won 3–1)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(LAL-POR)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 25 L.A. Lakers 95 Portland 77 1-0 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 1 TNT
2 April 27 L.A. Lakers 107 Portland 93 2-0 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 2 NBC
3 April 30 Portland 98 L.A. Lakers 90 2-1 Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon 3 TNT
4 May 2 Portland 91 L.A. Lakers 95 3-1 Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon 4 TNT
L.A. Lakers win series 3–1

(2) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (7) Phoenix Suns[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1993 Western Conference Finals (Phoenix won 4–3)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(SEA-PHO)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 25 Seattle 101 Phoenix 106 0-1 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 1 TBS
2 April 27 Seattle 122 Phoenix 78 1-1 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 2 TNT
3 April 29 Phoenix 110 Seattle 103 1-2 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona 3 TNT
4 May 1 Phoenix 115 Seattle 122 2-2 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona 4 TNT
5 May 3 Seattle 116 Phoenix 92 3-2 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 5 NBC
Seattle wins series 3–2

(3) Houston Rockets vs. (6) Minnesota Timberwolves[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first playoff meeting between the Timberwolves and Rockets.

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(HOU-MIN)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 24 Minnesota 95 Houston 112 1-0 The Summit, Houston, Texas 1 TBS
2 April 26 Minnesota 84 Houston 96 2-0 The Summit, Houston, Texas 2 NBC
3 April 29 Houston 125 Minnesota 120 3-0 Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 3 TBS
Houston wins series 3–0

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Los Angeles Lakers[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1988 Western Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles won 4-3)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(UTAH-LAL)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 4 Utah 93 Los Angeles 77 1-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1 NBC
2 May 6 Utah 103 Los Angeles 101 2-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 2 TNT
3 May 8 Los Angeles 104 Utah 84 2-1 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 3 TNT
4 May 10 Los Angeles 95 Utah 110 3-1 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 4 NBC
5 May 12 Utah 98 Los Angeles 93 4-1 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 5 TNT
Utah wins series 4–1

(2) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (3) Houston Rockets[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1996 Western Conference Semifinals (Seattle won 4-0)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(HOU-SEA)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 5 Houston 112 Seattle 102 1-0 The Summit, Houston, Texas 1 TNT
2 May 7 Houston 101 Seattle 106 1-1 The Summit, Houston, Texas 2 TNT
3 May 9 Seattle 93 Houston 97 2-1 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 3 TNT
4 May 11 Seattle 106 Houston 110 3-1 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 4 NBC
5 May 13 Houston 94 Seattle 100 3-2 The Summit, Houston, Texas 5
6 May 15 Seattle 99 Houston 96 3-3 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 6 TNT
7 May 17 Houston 96 Seattle 91 4-3 The Summit, Houston, Texas 7 NBC
Houston wins series 4–3

Conference Finals[edit]

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (3) Houston Rockets[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1995 Western Conference First Round (Houston won 3-2)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(UTAH-HOU)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 19 Utah 101 Houston 86 1-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1 TNT
2 May 21 Utah 104 Houston 92 2-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 2 TNT
3 May 23 Houston 118 Utah 100 2-1 The Summit, Houston, Texas 3 NBC
4 May 25 Houston 95 Utah 92 2-2 The Summit, Houston, Texas 4 NBC
5 May 27 Utah 96 Houston 91 3-2 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 5 NBC
6 May 29 Houston 100 Utah 103 4-2 The Summit, Houston, Texas 6 NBC
Utah wins series 4–2

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Chicago Bulls

First Round[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Washington Bullets[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first playoff meeting between the Bulls and Bullets/Wizards franchise.

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

(4) Atlanta Hawks vs. (5) Detroit Pistons[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1991 Eastern Conference First Round (Detroit won 3-2)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(ATL-DET)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 25 Atlanta 89 Detroit 75 1-0 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 1 TBS
2 April 27 Atlanta 80 Detroit 93 1-1 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 2 TNT
3 April 29 Detroit 99 Atlanta 91 1-2 The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan 3 TNT
4 May 2 Detroit 82 Atlanta 94 2-2 Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan 4 TNT
5 May 4 Atlanta 84 Detroit 79 3-2 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 5 NBC
Atlanta wins series 3–2

(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Orlando Magic[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first playoff meeting between the Magic and Heat.

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(MIA-ORL)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 24 Miami 99 Orlando 64 1-0 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 1 TNT
2 April 27 Miami 104 Orlando 87 2-0 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 2 NBC
3 April 29 Orlando 88 Miami 75 2-1 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 3 TBS
4 May 1 Orlando 99 Miami 91 2-2 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 4 TNT
5 May 4 Miami 91 Orlando 83 3-2 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 5 NBC
Miami wins series 3–2

(3) New York Knicks vs. (6) Charlotte Hornets[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: 1993 Eastern Conference Semifinals (New York won 4-1)

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(NYK-CHA)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 24 New York 109 Charlotte 99 1-0 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 1 MSG
2 April 26 New York 100 Charlotte 93 2-0 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 2 NBC
3 April 28 Charlotte 95 New York 104 3-0 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina 3 TNT
New York wins series 3–0

Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks[edit]

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

(2) Miami Heat vs. (3) New York Knicks[edit]

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first playoff meeting between the Knicks and Heat.

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(MIA-NYK)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 7 Miami 79 New York 88 0-1 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 1 TNT
2 May 9 Miami 88 New York 84 1-1 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 2 TNT
3 May 11 New York 77 Miami 73 1-2 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 3 NBC
4 May 12 New York 89 Miami 76 1-3 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 4 TNT
5 May 14 Miami 96 New York 81 2-3 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 5 TNT
6 May 16 New York 90 Miami 95 3-3 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 6 TNT
7 May 18 Miami 101 New York 90 4-3 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 7 NBC
Miami wins series 4–3

Conference Finals[edit]

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (2) Miami Heat[edit]

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

NBA Finals[edit]

Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz[edit]

Game Date Home Score Visitor Score Record

(CHI-UTAH)

Venue Recap Television
1 June 1 Chicago 84 Utah 82 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999) NBC
2 June 4 Chicago 97 Utah 85 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999) NBC
3 June 6 Utah 104 Chicago 93 2-1 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 3 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999) NBC
4 June 8 Utah 78 Chicago 73 2-2 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 4 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999) NBC
5 June 11 Utah 88 Chicago 90 3-2 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 5 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999) NBC
6 June 13 Chicago 90 Utah 86 4-2 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 6 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 24, 1999) NBC
Chicago wins NBA Finals series 4–2
  • In Game 1, Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer.
  • In Game 3, Scottie Pippen tied a then-Finals record with 7 3-pointers.
  • In Game 4, John Stockton threw a full-court pass over Michael Jordan to Karl Malone to give Utah the lead for good.
  • In Game 5 (The Flu Game), Michael Jordan plays 44 minutes and scores 38 points despite being visibly weak.
  • In Game 6, Steve Kerr hits the game-winner with 5 seconds left, then Scottie Pippen steals Bryon Russell's inbounds pass and rolls the ball to Toni Kukoč, who dunks it with 6 tenths left to bring the Finals to a close.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bullets Beat Cavs, Earn Playoff Berth". Eugene Register-Guard. 21 April 1997. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Selena (1 May 1997). "Bulls Prevail, but Bullets Go Out Fighti". New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 

External links[edit]