Isiah Thomas: Karl Malone was the reason Jazz lost NBA title to Chicago Bulls


isiah-thomasOn Oct. 3, Isiah Thomas appeared on NBA TV’s “Open Court”, and spoke his mind on the Jazz-Bulls late 90’s NBA Finals series.

NBA TV’s “Open Court” which is in its third season, features TNT’s Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

While talking about the Jazz, Thomas said that Karl Malone essentially cost Utah a championship.

Because Malone wasn’t a good foul shooter, Thomas felt that was the reason they didn’t beat the Chicago Bulls.

““I thought Utah, going back to that team, I thought they had everything it took to win a championship,”  said. “They had the system, the players, the toughness, they were defensive-minded and everything.”

“I always thought like Malone was the weakest link because he wasn’t a good foul shooter. Had he been a good foul shooter they would have beat Chicago,” Thomas said.

Kenny Smith also chimed in and said had Malone hit his free throws, they would have beaten his Houston Rockets one year.

It should be noted that during the 1997 NBA Finals, 1997 NBA MVP Karl Malone missed two key freethrows in Game 1 with 9.2 seconds remaining,  and the Bulls won 84:82. The Bulls went on to win the series 4-2.

Next year, the Jazz reached the finals once again with the Bulls, and lost again with the same series score of 4-2. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, in the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format, with the first 2 games in Chicago, then 3 games in a row in Salt Lake City and the last 2 in Chicago.

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