When you’re a young kid, you expect these sort of things. It’s the first game of the NBA Finals, and Michael Jordan is playing against the annoying Utah Jazz. He’s supposed to make the game-winner right, especially after the regular season MVP choked at the free throw line and blew two straight freebies? Well, eventually you grow up and realize it doesn’t always happen like that. We were all just spoiled.
The 1997 NBA Finals was one of the closest six-game series I’ve ever seen. The Jazz could’ve won Game 1, leading all the way into the fourth quarter. They should’ve won Game 5, leading by as many as 16 points in the first half. And they nearly won Game 6. (Interesting fact about that game? Outside of Jordan and Pippen, the rest of the Bulls team made just 10 shots.)
But Game 1 set the tone for the series, with MJ making the game-winner (along with 31 points and eight dimes) at the buzzer and the Jazz (Karl Malone) doing just enough to fall short.
Had Malone made his free throws, would Utah have won this series?
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