On Malone: this is just a microcosm for him. His career is now horribly
disrespected simply because he did not win a title. In the 90s people often
ranked him higher than Hakeem all-time. Today? Guys like Garnett and Nowitzki
get more respect, and Malone is simply remembered as a "loser".The same guy that has the most All-NBA first team selections in history, the
most 2000 point seasons, the most defensive rebounds and FTA/M's all-time,
and one of the greatest sustained runs as a star athlete (look at Malone's
stats at 34, now look at the much-praised Duncan's) ever, is only
remembered as a "choker". Certainly ESPN -- particularly the
rather hateful Bill Simmons (if there's a guy who lies about and attacks
the 90s Jazz/Malone more than him, it could only be Charley Rosen) -- has
contributed to this. Recently there was a listing of the 50 Greatest Playoff
Runs Ever. Malone was not once listed, yet the guy he used to regularly dominate
in the playoffs -- David Robinson -- was for a run of games averaging 15 and
ten boards. The idea that that was a better run than Malone's 92 is
There were terrible calls against Utah throughout that series. Pretty clearly,
as Malone himself said, Utah was not "supposed" to win that Finals -- no
doubt as decided by the most corrupt commissioner on the planet, David Stern.
Further, what stuck out to me was that Chicago employed a zone
defense against Utah; problem is, zone was illegal back then. You mean to tell
me that the officials couldn't read a modified 2-3 zone? The so-called
"best officials" in the world couldn't see that? yeah right.One can see the effect it had on Utah, as their TO rate was
uncharacteristically high. In a series where every game but one came down to the
last few plays, that is huge. Further, the rotational aspect of Chicago's
defense not only took away passing lanes with the Zone, but also allowed them to
far more effectively contest shots.Without the Zone, it's
highly doubtful that Chicago wins Title 6.
The two killer blown calls in that game were shot-clock related: the waved-off
Howard Eisley three and the Harper 2-pointed that should have been waved off.
I'll probably never get over those. You miss a foul call, and you can never
be sure what would've happened if the correct call had been made. Would the
guy have made his ill-gotten free throws? If a guy is fouled while shooting but
no call is made, would he have made the bucket if he wasn't fouled?
Impossible to say. With the two shot-clock plays, that's a definite,
unambiguous 5-point swing. Brutal.In general the article is right,
but Karl did throw up some stinkers in big moments and came up on the short end
of big moments in Game 1 of their first finals and Game 6 of their last. I have
always defended him for Game 6, as he had a really solid game, and the Jordan
steal was just a great defensive gamble that worked out.
Still stings for me. The blown call on Eisley's jumper that was actually
before the shot clock expired, then Harper's three after the shot clock
expired was the real difference. That's 5 free points for the Bulls, which
is pretty huge with the way those two teams were playing. Although technically
a push off, I've never complained about Jordan pushing Russell. This is
one of those instances where the officials truly blew the game.