The 1998 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1998 playoffs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Finish of the 1997–98 NBA season.
The Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls played against the Western Conference champion Utah Jazz, with all the Jazz holding home-court edge together with the first 2 games in Salt Lake City. In a replica of the preceding year’s Finals, the Bulls won the series 4 games to 2 for their third consecutive NBA title and their sixth in eight seasons. Michael Jordan was voted the NBA Finals MVP of this series (he also had won the award the last five occasions the Bulls won the Finals: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997). This could be his sixth NBA championship and sixth Finals MVP award in six full basketball seasons. Until 2014, it was the last successive Finals rematch between two teams.
The 1998 Finals garnered the greatest Nielsen TV ratings in NBA history in 18.7, and even surpassed the Nielsen ratings for the 1998 World Series, marking the first time the NBA had a higher rating in its championship round compared to Major League Baseball’s championship round.
Until 2012, this has been the latest closing played completely out of Texas and California.
The series marked the first time since 1989 the same two groups met in the Finals in consecutive years. The Jazz earned the league’s best record by virtue of sweeping the two-game regular season series with the Bulls despite both teams finishing at 62 wins. In the playoffs, the Celtics had been pushed to the brink by the Houston Rockets before winning Game 5 in Utah, and then overcame Rookie of the Year Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs 4–1. They then swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Bulls swept the New Jersey Nets and then took the Charlotte Hornets in five, but it took seven matches to conquer the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
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