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.

Draft picks


Roster listing
Utah Jazz roster
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
SG40United StatesAnderson, Shandon6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)208 lb (94 kg)1973-12-31Georgia
PF55United StatesCarr, Antoine6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)225 lb (102 kg)1961-07-23Wichita State University
PG10United StatesEisley, Howard6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)177 lb (80 kg)1972-12-04Boston College
C44United StatesFoster, Greg6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)240 lb (109 kg)1968-10-03UTEP
SG14United StatesHornacek, Jeff6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)190 lb (86 kg)1963-05-03Iowa State
SF43United StatesHoward, Stephen6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)230 lb (104 kg)1970-05-15DePaul
PF31United StatesKeefe, Adam6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)230 lb (104 kg)1970-02-22Stanford
PF32United StatesMalone, Karl (C)6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)250 lb (113 kg)1963-07-24Louisiana Tech
SF34United StatesMorris, Chris6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)210 lb (95 kg)1966-01-20Auburn
SG30United StatesNembhard, Ruben6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)208 lb (94 kg)Weber State
C00United StatesOstertag, Greg7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)280 lb (127 kg)1973-03-06Kansas
SF3United StatesRussell, Bryon6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)225 lb (102 kg)1970-12-31Long Beach State
PG12United StatesStockton, John (C)6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)170 lb (77 kg)1962-03-26Gonzaga
SF15United StatesWatson, Jamie Injured6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)190 lb (86 kg)South Carolina
Head coach

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured


Regular season

Season standings

z – clinched division title
y – clinched division title
x – clinched playoff spot

Record vs. opponents

Game log

1996-97 Game Log
1996-97 Schedule


West First Round

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (8) Los Angeles Clippers Last Playoff Meeting: 1992 Western Conference First Round (Utah won 3–0)

West Conference Semifinals

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (4) Los Angeles Lakers Last Playoff Meeting: 1988 Western Conference Semifinals (Utah won 4-1)

West Conference Finals

(1) Utah Jazz vs. (3) Houston Rockets Last Playoff Meeting: 1995 Western Conference First Round (Utah won 4-2)

NBA 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.

(E1) Chicago Bulls vs. (W1) Utah Jazz

Player statistics

  GPGames 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





Free agents

Uses material from the Wikipedia article 1996–97 Utah Jazz season, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.