FORWARDS: Chicago starter Toni Kukoc was missing in action in Game 1. In Game 2, he discovered his long-lost jumpshot and scored 13 points, eight in the first quarter. The 6-foot-11 Croation also pulled down nine rebounds. And while Scottie Pippen contributed 21 points, Karl Malone turned in his second consecutive subpar offensive outing. The Mailman had just 16 points in 39 minutes. Even Forrest Gump knows that when he fails to score more than 20, the Jazz are going to be in trouble.
CENTERS: Whatever advantage goes to the Jazz, but only because you can't justify giving it to the Bulls. Chicago's Luc Longley was a non-factor for the second straight night, getting into foul trouble again. Longley spent much of the fourth quarter on the bench with five fouls. He finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds. It wasn't much better for the Jazz's Three Amigos of Greg Foster, Greg Ostertag and Antoine Carr. Only 'Tag showed any life, scoring 7 points in six minutes of play in the first half. But he barely broke a sweat in one minute of play in the second half.
GUARDS: Although Michael Jordan lit up the Jazz for 37, this is a toss-up. Yes, Jordan's contributions, which included five rebounds and three assists, were huge. As important as Jordan's production was to the Bulls, Jeff Hornacek's 20 points were just as important to the Jazz. His shooting (he was 7-for-11 from the floor) kept Utah within striking distance in the second half, particularly in the third quarter. John Stockton had a solid game, but he didn't take over in crunch time like he did in Game 1.
BENCHES: Give the advantage to the Jazz, but just barely.
Utah's bench dominated the Bulls' subs, outscoring them 32-15. Shandon Anderson led all reserves with 12 points. Howard Eisley was steady again in relief of Stockton, though he made just four of his 10 attempts from the field. Meanwhile, the Bulls' bench showed signs of life in Game 2, and it proved to be a key factor. Dennis Rodman came off the bench to record nine rebounds, all in the second half. But the biggest rebound of all was by Steve Kerr. The Bulls' guard rebounded his own miss with 50 seconds left in the game and handed the ball to Jordan, who coverted a jumper and drew a foul. That 3-point play gave the Bulls a lead they would not relinquish.
COACHING: Credit Phil Jackson's coaching staff with finding a way to control Utah's pick and roll. He also learned from his ill-fated experiement of resting Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan together. But most importantly, he and the Bulls leave the Delta Center with the homecourt advantage. Kudos to Jerry Sloan for igniting a third quarter run with what, at the time, was a substitution out of desperation. He inserted Adam Keefe into the lineup triggering a 9-0 Utah run as the Jazz turned a 61-55 deficit into a 64-61 advantage. But why only one minute of PT for Ostertag in the second half after a short, but solid, first half's work?