Jazz Collapse Raises Questions
Jun. 06, 1998
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ At the end of the third quarter, Utah seemed in command of Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Twelve minutes later, after one of their worst quarters of basketball this season, the Jazz were wondering what hit them.
Nerves, poor shot selection, some good defense by Chicago and almost a complete lack of rebounding combined to send Utah to a 93-88 defeat.
Instead of the veteran team that they are, the Jazz looked like the scared big-game novices that folded during crunch time in last year's finals against the Bulls.
Utah roared into the fourth quarter, using an 11-0 run to take a 73-70 lead on Howard Eisley's 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds left in the third. More importantly, the Jazz were controlling the tempo of the game even with their reserves on the floor.
Then the bottom fell out. Suddenly, the Jazz, playing four subs, looked lost early in the quarter, committing turnovers on their first three possessions. They went without a field goal over the first 7:04 of the fourth quarter.
When the Bulls took the lead with 6:35 to play, the Jazz didn't respond. Utah was 4-for-15 from the field in the quarter and committed seven of their 20 turnovers down the stretch.
The Jazz lost from the top down as Karl Malone had his second straight off game, shooting 5-for-16 and scoring 16 points.
Chicago grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to just nine for the Jazz.
With 26 seconds to play and the Jazz down 88-86, Malone, instead of driving to the hoop, took a fallaway 20-foot jumper that missed badly. Chicago rebounded, and the Jazz were forced to foul the Bulls.