Bring on the Lakers

April 14th, 2009 | by Spencer Hall

we_want_the_lakers

So I just finished watching a fantastic replay of the Jazz-Lakers Game 4 of the 1997 Western Conference Semifinals at the old Forum in LA. Karl Malone went for 42 and was 18-18 from the free throw line. Bryon Russell had 29, Stockton had 11, Hornacek 14 and the rest of the team combined for only 14 points. Seriously, check the boxscore:

Starters MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Bryon Russell 45 12 20 .600 4 9 .444 1 1 1.000 2 8 10 3 1 0 4 4 29
John Stockton 40 5 12 .417 1 2 .500 0 1 .000 2 3 5 11 5 0 4 3 11
Karl Malone 39 12 27 .444 0 0 18 18 1.000 2 7 9 3 0 0 2 4 42
Jeff Hornacek 37 3 8 .375 1 3 .333 7 8 .875 1 5 6 6 0 0 0 2 14
Greg Ostertag 32 0 3 .000 0 0 2 2 1.000 2 3 5 0 1 2 0 5 2
Reserves MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Greg Foster 15 0 2 .000 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 1 0 3 0
Shandon Anderson 11 3 3 1.000 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 6
Antoine Carr 11 1 4 .250 0 0 1 2 .500 2 1 3 1 1 0 1 3 3
Howard Eisley 8 0 1 .000 0 1 .000 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Chris Morris 2 1 2 .500 0 0 1 2 .500 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
Team Totals 240 37 82 .451 6 15 .400 30 34 .882 11 30 41 27 9 3 11 27 110

Can you imagine how tough that Malone/Stockton/Hornacek trio could have been with a supporting cast? I mean, I enjoy a Chris Morris cameo as much as the next Jazz fan, but wow, those teams were slim pickings after the first four.

Also, I hope all the Jazz players were in their hotel rooms watching this game to learn how to play on the road. It’s not fair to expect a player to be Karl Malone or John Stockton, but it was startling to watch two superstars and a one-legged specialist put on a clinic on the road against a young Shaq, Kobe, and a smattering of classic late 90s Lakers.

Let’s get nostalgic for a bit. And since I was living in the middle of nowhere in Argentina with no access to a television that year, I want to hear what it was like to follow the team that year. What are some things you remember about that 1997 Jazz team? In the meantime, enjoy Hornacek at the line:

hornacek

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
Spencer Hall
Spencer Hall

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3 Comments

  1. Scrum says:

    I remember not being scared by ANY team, I mean *ANY* team. Playing the Lakers was going to be a free lesson on how to play ball. Then, over the course of 2 seasons, the Jazz went 8-1 against the Lakers. Man, those were the days. It was basically like how the Lakers thought of EVERY team in the 2001 playoffs (they went 15-1)

  2. Isn’t it crazy that they were so tough even though they could only count on production from three or four guys? I mean, the rest of the team put up lines that would make Basketbawful proud and they still dominated on the road.

    I also enjoyed watching Hornacek foul Shaq to prevent an easy layup even with the game in hand. It makes a stark contrast to the matador defense we end up watching most games.

    And nobody ran the open floor like Malone in his prime

  3. Jazzspin.com says:

    No doubt those were two great series against the Lakers. You have to wonder how much film the current Jazz have seen of those Jazz, it couldn’t hurt to see how well they executed and the effort that they brought. I think that B-Russ was better during those finals runs than most Jazz fans remember.

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