Utah pries win from the Jazz of defeat


Frozen moment: Johnny on the spot

X-factor: Rodman a non-factor

Jazz buzz: Perfect timing for Malone, Miller

Bulls buzz: Rare glimpse of Err Jordan

Game 4 shot charts

Pregame notebook

NBA Finals page


John Stockton says Utah isn't in command of the series. (Courtesy NBA/NBC Sports)
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Karl Malone already is focused on Game 5.
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Michael Jordan is confident the Bulls will win the title. (Courtesy NBA/NBC Sports)
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Mailman made a special Sunday delivery.
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Stockton describes his big pass to Malone. (Courtesy NBA/NBC Sports)
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Malone says Stockton was great down the stretch.
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Jerry Sloan says Stockton's pass was unforgettable. (Courtesy NBA/NBC Sports)
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Phil Jackson says it wasn't Stockton's pass that killed the Bulls. (Courtesy NBA/NBC Sports)
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Jackson says when Jordan gets hot, you stay with him. (Courtesy NBA/NBC Sports)
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Box score | Game recap | Game flow

SALT LAKE CITY -- In a reversal of Game 1, Karl Malone made the free throws and Michael Jordan missed the shot Sunday as the Utah Jazz evened the NBA Finals at two games apiece with a 78-73 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Stock rises to the occasion: John Stockton's big plays down the stretch kept Utah in the game. "He never said die," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He was the one guy who stepped up and said, 'There's gotta be some way we can win this game.'"

MJ was MIA: Michael Jordan's game disappeared for a long stretch, as he scored two points in the second and third quarters combined. He also didn't go to the foul line the entire game.

Malone caught a brilliant full-court pass from John Stockton and made the go-ahead layup with 44 seconds to go. Malone -- who missed two free throws in the waning moments of the series opener -- sank two clutch foul shots 26 seconds later, giving Utah a 76-73 lead.

"I normally think about faraway places, but this time I thought about 650 million people watching again," Malone said of his trip to the foul line. "I'm not going to lie to you; that's what I thought about the whole time I was shooting."

Jordan, whose last-second jumper won Game 1, missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer on the next possession.

Malone had 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Jazz never would have won without Stockton, who had 17 points, 12 assists and nearly every clutch play down the stretch as Utah scored the final nine points.

In the fourth quarter, Stockton had six points and six assists.

"John Stockton made some terrific plays," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They were sensational plays."

It was the second-lowest scoring game in Finals history, but it lacked nothing in terms of excitement. Tempers flared, neither team led by more than seven points and Jordan overcame a poor start with a terrific fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 22 points.

"When he got going in the middle of the fourth quarter, he said, 'If you get the ball in my hands, I think I've got a good rhythm,'" Bulls coach Phil Jackson said of Jordan. "We kept going there.

"That last 3-point shot he threw up there, I considered a tough shot for most people, but it was down and in, and it came back out again. That would have tied the ball game."

Jordan had a soaring jumper and a breakaway dunk to give Chicago a 71-66 lead with 2:42 remaining, but Stockton kept Utah in the game with a long 3-pointer.

"That got them back in the game," Jackson said of Stockton's 3-pointer. "We had all the momentum and 2½ minutes to go in the game."

Jordan answered with a fadeaway jumper from the foul line with 2:03 to go.

shot chart
John Stockton was 6 for 11, and he hit a long 3-pointer at crunch time. Click here for complete shot charts of Game 4.

The Bulls appeared to have it wrapped up after Utah missed, but Stockton stripped the ball from Jordan on Chicago's ensuing possession.

"He picked me clean," Jordan said. "I know Stockton likes to gamble, but I really didn't feel like he was there."

Stockton raced toward the hoop after making the steal. Jordan blocked the layup attempt but was called for a body foul.

"I aggressively went at the block," Jordan said. "I thought I had it clean, but they said I got him with the body. In Chicago, no call. In Utah, different story."

Stockton missed one of the two free throws. After Chicago's Scottie Pippen missed a 3-pointer, Stockton redeemed himself by making two foul shots and cutting the deficit to one point, 73-72, with 1:03 to play.

After Jordan missed a jumper, Stockton grabbed the rebound and found Malone with the long pass for the go-ahead points.

"That was a great pass. There's no doubt about it," Jackson said. "It looked like we were capable of perhaps getting to it; he put it just in the right spot. That's his forte."

On the next possession, Jordan passed to Steve Kerr, who missed a 3-pointer from the corner.

Malone was then fouled and went to the line. He rattled in the first one, but the next one swished through.

Tempers flared in the third quarter, when Scottie Pippen, left, and Greg Ostertag were hit with double technicals.

"I've never seen them with any fear in their eyes," Pippen said of the Jazz. "We realize that this series never was over when we left Chicago. We realized how well this team plays at home."

Utah is 48-3 at the Delta Center this season, playoffs included.

Pippen had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls. Luc Longley scored 11 points and Brian Williams had 10. The Bulls again got little production from Dennis Rodman, who was scoreless with six rebounds in 25 minutes. Jeff Hornacek scored nine of his 13 points in the first quarter as the Jazz took a 21-16 lead.

Malone picked up his second foul and went to the bench early in the second quarter. The Bulls got a boost from their bench, as Williams and Toni Kukoc scored six points each over the next seven minutes, giving Chicago a 34-29 lead with 5:05 remaining in the half.

Chicago led 40-35 at halftime. Utah struggled to 41 percent (14 for 34) from the field in the first half; Chicago shot 45 percent (18 for 40).

The Jazz started quickly in the third quarter, scoring the first seven points as Stockton made a jumper and 3-pointer around a banker by Greg Ostertag, giving Utah a 42-40 lead. It was a seesaw battle the rest of the way.

Rodman drew a technical in the third. He flopped in an effort to draw an offensive foul as Malone scored inside. When Malone ran back on defense, the fallen Rodman tried to trip him -- in the opinion of the referees -- only to get a kick in the head and a technical foul for his trouble.

The rough stuff continued. Pippen drove to the basket and Ostertag delivered a hard foul, knocking Pippen down. The two got in each other's face and had to be separated, and a double technical was called with 5:42 left.

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