A franchise-record 55 wins . . . 41 straight regular season Salt Palace sellouts and three more in the playoffs . . . All-Star trophies again for John Stockton and Karl Malone . . . an All-Rookie team award for Blue Edwards . . . wins over every NBA franchise . . . another assists title, and record, for Stockton . . . a 61-point night for Malone . . .
The Utah Jazz's 1989-90 season was loaded with highlights as the Jazz continued to move into the upper reaches of NBA society. The team played in front of an average attendance of 12,616 per night at home - 100 percent of capacity - and played to an average of 16,596 every night on the road, the fifth highest road average in the league, behind only Boston, Detroit, the Lakers and Chicago.No franchise in the NBA escaped losing to the Jazz, and 11 of the Jazz's 25 opponents wound up losing their season series to Utah. New Jersey, Washington, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, Charlotte, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Clippers didn't win a game from the Jazz, going a collective 0-26.
Only Houston, San Antonio and Phoenix won their season series against the Jazz. Houston and San Antonio posted 3-2 marks and Phoenix, the only true Jazz nemesis (as the playoffs proved), went 3-1.
The Jazz split their season series with Boston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Orlando, Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland.
It all added up to a best-in-franchise-history 55-37 regular season record. Included in that total was a 21-7 mark against other members of the Midwest Division as the Jazz finished second in the division, a game in back of the San Antonio Spurs.
The Jazz has winning records in every month but April. They were 8-4 in November, 11-5 in December, 11-3 in January, 9-4 in February, 11-4 in March and 5-7 in April.
Several players had the best years of their careers, paced by the Jazz's All-Stars, Stockton and Malone.
Stockton, the Jazz's 6-foot-1 point guard, eclipsed his alltime NBA season assists record of 1,128 by handing out 1,134 despite missing four games due to injury or illness. They were the first missed games of Stockton's six-year playing career. Stockton became the first NBA player in history to record in excess of 1,000 assists in three straight seasons as he had 40 games with 15 or more assists and 10 games with 20 or more. In addition, he was the second leading scorer on the team (17.7 ppg) and was in double figures 70 games. He was first in the league in assists (14.5 per game), second in steals to Michael Jordan with 2.65 a game and eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.416). His appearance in the All-Star Game in February marked his second straight such honor.
Malone, meanwhile, was named an All-Star for the third straight year (although he had to miss the All-Star game because of an injury) and, more impressively, was named on the All-NBA first team for the second straight season - joining Philadelphia's Charles Barkley, New York's Patrick Ewing, the Lakers' Magic Johnson and the Bulls' Michael Jordan on that elite list.
In 1989-90, Malone finished second in the NBA in scoring, at 31.0 points per game, and fifth in rebounding, at 11.1 rebounds per game, and became only the ninth player in league history to average 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds for the season. On April 15 at Minnesota he reached the 10,000-point career milestone before his fifth NBA season was finished.
Contributing significantly to the 55-win season was Edwards, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound slamdunking specialist out of East Carolina who scored at an 8.9 points-per-game clip to make second team on the NBA's All-Rookie list. The promising first-year player started 49 games and had 22 double-figure games with a high of 22 against the Knicks.
Many players reached new heights during the campaign. Especially effective off the bench was 6-foot-9 forward Mike Brown, who registered career high minutes (1,397), points-per-game (6.2) and rebounds-per-game (4.5). Center Mark Eaton shot over 50 percent (52.7) for the first time in his career and reserve shooting guard Darrell Griffith, despite having his playing time cut almost in half, averaged 8.9 points a game in just 17.6 minutes a game.
Statistically, the season was successful in virtually every team category. The Jazz outshot the opposition from the field by a 50.5 percent to 45.4 percent advantage. They were better at three-point goals by a 35.9 to 30.9 percent advantage. They had more rebounds by a 3,454 to 3,310 margin and had more assists by a 2,212 to 1,885 margin.