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One of the greatest point guard-power forward combinations could never win a championship.
After losing in the NBA Finals to the Chicago Bulls the year before, the Utah Jazz returned to the Finals in 1998 determined to come away victorious.
The stars seemed aligned for them to do so.
They had the league MVP in Karl Malone, the experience of finally having broken through the previous season after years of failure, and they were facing the Bulls again. This time, though, they had home court advantage due to their regular season sweep of the Bulls.
Game 1 would go to the Jazz by three in overtime, 88-85 but, as was their way in the NBA Finals, the Bulls would win Game 2 by five and seize control of the series. Every member of the Bulls would score in Game 3 as the Bulls routed the Jazz 96-54, record lows in points in the 24 second shot clock era.
Game 4 would be a different story, but have the same result for the Jazz as they would lose a closely contested match 88-84 and see the Bulls grab a commanding 3-1 series lead. Game 5 would see Malone have his only good game of the series, 39 points 10 rebounds, and the Jazz would score an 83-81 win to send the series back to Utah.
The rest is etched into most of your minds, especially Bryon Russell's. Jordan stealing the ball from Malone, dribbling up court, and burying that jumper from just above the free throw line (yes...yes after he pushed off) to clinch the Bulls second three-peat and sixth title.
Despite playing in the 2004 Finals as a member of the Lakers, Malone would retire without an NBA championship ring, as would Stockton and the great Jerry Sloan, who tried for so long to win a championship as a member of the Bulls in the '70's would now be denied by them in the '90's.