1996–97 Utah Jazz season
The 1996–97 NBA season was the Jazz's 23rd season in the National Basketball Association, and 18th season in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to the start of the season, the Jazz changed their logo that more closely reflects the state of Utah, featuring purple mountains, and light blue in the script. The new colors seemed to agree with the Jazz as they went on a 15-game winning streak after a 2–2 start to the season. The Jazz then posted a 31–4 record after the All-Star break, and finished first place in the Western Conference with a franchise best record of 64–18. Karl Malone averaged 27.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game as he took home MVP honors. He was also selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game along with John Stockton.
In the playoffs, the Jazz got off to a flying start in the first round sweeping the Los Angeles Clippers in three straight games. In the semifinals, they continued to roll easily knocking the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one. In the Western Conference Finals, they took a 2–0 series lead over the Houston Rockets. However, the Rockets would even the series at two games a piece as Eddie Johnson hit a dramatic buzzer beater to win Game 4. After the Jazz took Game 5 at home, Game 6 would be another battle and appeared to be heading for overtime, until Stockton nailed a three-point buzzer beater that launched the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. In their first trip to the finals, the Jazz lost in six games to the Chicago Bulls.
The Jazz's new logo and uniforms would both last until 2004.
Utah Jazz roster
- z – clinched division title
- y – clinched division title
- x – clinched playoff spot
Record vs. opponents
|1996-97 Game Log|
November: 11–2 (Home: 8–1; Road: 3–1)
December: 11-5 (Home: 7-1; Road: 4-4)
January: 9-6 (Home: 5-0; Road: 4-6)
February: 9-3 (Home: 7-1; Road: 2-2)
West First Round
West Conference Semifinals
West Conference Finals
In the finals, the Jazz faced the Chicago Bulls losing the first two games on the road. However, the Jazz upon arriving at the Delta Center continued their home court advantage by taking Game 3, and Game 4 to even the series. With a chance to take a series lead in Game 5, the Jazz were beaten by a heroic performance by Michael Jordan playing with the flu like ailment 90-88. Back in Chicago for Game 6, the Jazz battled the Bulls tightly before falling by four points as the Bulls won their fifth title in seven years.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
Awards and records
- Karl Malone, NBA Most Valuable Player Award
- Karl Malone, All-NBA First Team
- John Stockton, All-NBA Third Team
- Karl Malone, NBA All-Defensive First Team
- John Stockton, NBA All-Defensive Second Team