Jordan jukes Jazz in Game 1


X-factor: Pippen stars in 'My Left Foot'

Frozen moment: Jordan wins this MVP battle

Bulls locker room: Ho-hum heroics

Jazz locker room: Turnovers torment Utah

Game 1 shot charts

Pregame notebook

NBA Finals page


Jordan describes what Phil Jackson said during the final timeout.
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Jackson details the last play. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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The possibility of missing never crossed MJ's mind.
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John Stockton knew who would take the final shot. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Jordan amazes even himself. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Jordan explains why the Bulls have had a rough time in series openers.
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Malone says this was no moral victory. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Malone won't dwell on his missed free throws. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Jackson praises Utah. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Stockton: Utah needs to rebound from the loss. (Courtesy: NBA/NBC Sports)
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Box score | Game recap | Game flow

CHICAGO -- Michael Jordan's 20-foot buzzer-beater from the left wing gave the Chicago Bulls a thrilling 84-82 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Super Scottie: Scottie Pippen played despite a foot injury and scored 27 points on 11-for-19 shooting. He also had a little talk with Karl Malone right before the Mailman missed a pair of crucial free throws. "I just kind of whispered in his ear that the Mailman doesn't deliver on Sunday," Pippen said.

MJ is money: When the game is on the line, Chicago has the luxury of going to Michael Jordan for the final shot.

Give it away now: Utah, usually a sure-handed team, committed 18 turnovers. "The thing I have a very difficult time living with," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "is guys not executing and handling the basketball."

"Give the ball to Michael and get out of the way," Chicago's Brian Williams said, describing the strategy of the final play.

Jordan scored 31 points, including nine in the final 5½ minutes. He was 13 for 27 from the floor and dished out eight assists for the Bulls, who will host Game 2 on Wednesday.

Utah's Karl Malone, who edged Jordan in the regular-season MVP voting, had 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Jordan's game-winning buzzer-beater -- his first in five trips to the Finals -- came after Malone missed two free throws with 9.2 seconds left. Jordan also missed key a free throw with 36 seconds remaining.

"It was nip-and-tuck down the stretch. I missed a free throw and Karl comes down and misses two," Jordan said. "The MVPs didn't do much down the stretch. Fortunately, I was able to knock the (final) shot in."

On the final play, Scottie Pippen inbounded to Toni Kukoc, who gave the ball to Jordan. He used a crossover dribble to get free of Bryon Russell and buried a jumper from just inside the 3-point circle as the buzzer sounded.

"I was surprised that Russell was the only one on me," Jordan said. "Since they didn't double me, I took a crossover dribble to the left, stopped, took my shot and that was it."

"We thought we tried to play him as straight as we could," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We probably made a mistake."

shot chart
Michael Jordan shot 13 for 27 overall, including 8 for 11 in the key. Click here for complete shot charts of Game 1.

"Jordan got the ball, time was running down and he hit a great shot with my hand in his face," Russell said. "He did what Michael Jordan is known for -- backbreakers."

Pippen spent the previous two days in a walking cast because of a foot injury, but he started Sunday and finished with 27 points and nine rebounds for the defending champion Bulls.

"This is the part of the season where I would play with just about any injury," Pippen said. "There was some pain and discomfort early, but I pressed through it.

"I will probably not practice the next two days. It's not that I don't want to, but continuing my therapy is probably the better way for me to go right now."

"I thought he really played an excellent ball game," Bulls coach Phil Jackson said of Pippen. "He went out at the beginning of the game, got us going, found out what he could and couldn't do."

John Stockton had 16 points and 12 assists for the Jazz, which squandered a chance to grab early control of the series. Utah was trying to become the first franchise since the 1988 Detroit Pistons to win its Finals debut.

The final 3½ minutes were frenetic, with six lead changes and a tie before Jordan's game-winner.

Jordan had a layup and bank shot before a basket by Luc Longley gave Chicago a 76-75 lead with 3:29 remaining. Malone made two free throws, Jordan canned a jumper and Malone scored on a tough drive to give the Jazz a 79-78 edge with 1:35 to play.

Karl Malone, left, outrebounded Dennis Rodman 15-12.

Pippen and Stockton traded 3-pointers and Jordan made one of two from the foul line with 35 seconds to go, pulling Chicago into an 82-82 tie with 35 seconds left.

Stockton missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, but Malone tracked down the long rebound and was fouled by Dennis Rodman. Malone missed both shots.

"It was just me up there," Malone said. "They felt good. I just missed 'em."

Rodman led Chicago with 12 rebounds, but Jordan and Pippen had no help on offense. No other player scored more than six points for the Bulls, who shot 45 percent (34 for 76) from the field and were outrebounded 50-42.

"It's a concern," Jordan said. "But you guys have asked me that question (about the struggling offense) the entire playoffs and we still continue to win."

Jeff Hornacek scored 11 points and Howard Eisley added nine for the Jazz, which shot 46 percent (35 for 76) but committed 18 turnovers, including seven by Stockton.

"I can live with guys missing shots," Sloan said. "The thing I have a very difficult time living with is guys not executing and handling the basketball."

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